After being continually challenged to overcome itself , Savanna proved too much to handle for host Brea-Olinda.
Savanna, which side-stepped potential disaster in almost every inning, scored four runs in the eighth inning of its 7-3 Orange League baseball victory over the first-place Wildcats on Wednesday. In the process, Savanna remained in the lead for the league’s third and final automatic Southern Section Division II playoff berth.
“I felt we were really lucky,” Rebel Coach Hack Mitchell said. “They are a real good hitting team, but they had some problems cashing in on their scoring chances.
“We were real fortunate, because it could have been a long day.”
The Rebels (10-14, 7-7 in league play) are tied with Magnolia for third place. Savanna will clinch a playoff berth with a victory at Anaheim on Friday because it holds the tiebreaker advantage.
Brea-Olinda (20-4, 10-4) and Valencia have secured the other two berths and are tied for first with one game remaining Friday. Valencia, which holds the tiebreaker advantage, plays host to Western and Brea-Olinda travels to Magnolia.
If Savanna is to clinch the final spot, it has to cut down on self-inflicted damage. The Rebels walked nine--six in the first two innings--and committed two errors.
Brea-Olinda, though, was having its own problems.
Usually a prodigious hitting team, the Wildcats managed only six hits and left 12 runners on base. Brea-Olinda left the bases loaded in the first and second innings.
The Wildcats had a runner thrown out at the plate in the fifth inning and left the potential winning run stranded at third in the seventh inning--albeit thanks to a spectacular play.
Savanna center fielder Mike Hynes robbed Dan Anderson of at least a double by making a diving catch on a ball Anderson hit to the gap in left-center field. The out ended the inning.
Hynes also contributed at the plate. He had two doubles in four at-bats, one of which drove in a run in the pivotal eighth. He also scored one run.
“He had a really big game; that’s what we need from our seniors,” Mitchell said. “He made that great catch in center and then he comes through with a clutch hit to help us win. That was really big.”
The support helped make a winner out of Russ Hartman (4-4), who relieved starter Jose Vasquez in the fourth inning.
Brea-Olinda played shoddy defense behind previously undefeated ace Mike Trombly (9-1). The Wildcats committed four errors and made several mental mistakes.
Wildcat left fielder Matt Weyant did play well. Weyant was three for four with a run scored.
In another league game:
Magnolia 6, Valencia 4--Magnolia (10-11, 7-7) remained in the playoff hunt with the victory over the Tigers (11-12, 10-4). Valencia is tied for first with Brea-Olinda. Josh Reding (6-2) went the distance, striking out seven for the Sentinels.
In the Garden Grove League:
Garden Grove 2, Santiago 0--Justin Lewis hit the first pitch of the game for a home run for visiting Garden Grove in a make-up game from Friday.
In Olympic League baseball:
Calvary Chapel 3, Orange Lutheran 1--Eric Donelson’s two-run single in the third inning provided the winning margin for Calvary Chapel (15-8, 7-4), which moved alone into third place. Orange Lutheran is 10-13, 6-5.