It was an unforgettable moment during a forgettable game.
In the fifth inning of El Camino Real High’s 14-7 victory over Thousand Oaks in the championship game of the Thousand Oaks tournament Wednesday, Randy Wolf hit a home run.
As the ball cleared the fence in center field, landing near the flag, which was flying at half-mast, Wolf glanced to the sky.
“That kind of got me in the heart a little bit,” El Camino Real’s Justin Martin said.
Wolf, the Conquistadores’ standout hitter and pitcher, was playing for the first time since his father, James, died of a heart attack Sunday. He pitched a complete game.
“Today, I just wanted to do it for Dad,” Wolf said of his decision to play.
Wolf (4-1) was not at his best, but the seven runs he gave up are misleading. Only three were earned. He gave up 10 hits, struck out five and walked three.
Although Wolf’s teammates let him down in the field, making three errors and misplaying several other balls, they gave him more than enough offensive support. El Camino Real (8-2) had a 5-0 lead before Wolf threw a pitch.
The big blow in the first inning was a three-run home run by first baseman Craig Carlton, who had two hits and four runs batted in. The Conquistadores added a run in the third and five in the fourth.
Martin, who had two of the Conquistadores’ 10 hits, said the team wanted to win for Wolf.
“When he came (Tuesday) and watched the game, he showed he cared enough about us to be here,” Martin said. “We had to go out and show we cared enough about him to win it for him.”
El Camino Real right fielder Billy Burnette added a solo home run and a double. He had to leave the game in the bottom of the seventh after running into the fence tracking a ball hit by Matt Elam, who circled the bases while Burnette lay dazed in the outfield.
Greg Aguilar led Thousand Oaks (9-3) with three hits, including a double.
Services for James Wolf will be held at 11 a.m. Friday at the Oakwood Cemetery in Chatsworth.
The family asks that, in lieu of flowers, donations be made to the El Camino Real High baseball program.