In a wild Mission League finish, Chaminade High put together its best inning of the season, then held off a seventh-inning rally by Crespi to claim a 10-6 victory Saturday and its first berth in the Southern Section Division I playoffs.
The teams entered the game at Valley College tied for third place with identical 16-9, 8-6 records, and had split their season series.
Chaminade won at home on Wednesday, 5-2, and Crespi pulled out an 8-7 victory on Friday at Valley to force the tiebreaker.
After Friday’s game, Chaminade Coach Dave Desmond said that all his team needed to do to win would be to show up, and the Celts helped turn Desmond’s prophecy into reality by leaving 11 runners on base, hitting into two inning-ending double plays and having two runners thrown out at home to kill a second-inning rally, practically gift-wrapping the victory for Eagles’ starter Joel Orme (8-3).
The Eagles sent 13 batters to the plate in their eight-run third inning, touching sophomore starter Chris Hebert (1-2) for six runs and tagging senior ace Sam Clemons for two more before he departed after 10 pitches to four batters.
Singles by Brandon Gray, Joel Orme, Gabe Crecion, and John Gunn contributed to the rally along with a bases-loaded triple by Casey Cote, two singles by Scot Dey and an error by Celts’ shortstop Rich Gonzalez.
Barry Matthews struck out Kevin Lohman and Gray to end the carnage, and shut Chaminade down over the next four innings. He added four more strikeouts while allowing just two hits, but the damage had been done. Crespi trailed, 10-1.
“It looks like we made the wrong decision on who to pitch,” Crespi Coach Scott Muckey said. “I didn’t know Matthews was going to be able to go five innings and shut them down.
“I thought he was going to be good for two or three.”
Orme went three innings, allowing one run on seven hits and striking out two, and Adam Crecion stopped Crespi for another three before the bottom dropped out, starting when he hit Rich Gonzalez to open the seventh inning.
Five runs and two outs later, Cote struck out Mike Glendenning with the bases loaded to earn his fourth save.
After Gonzalez was hit, Glendenning singled and Brad Wright hit a three-run, inside-the-park home run to center field past a diving Cote. Brad Farlow hit a ground-rule double and Matthews walked. Cote replaced Crecion and struck out Chris Crawley. John Campanella singled, Tony Gonzalez singled and Rich Gonzalez reached first on Gabe Crecion’s error before Cote got the final out.
Chaminade scored in the first inning on Gray’s run-scoring grounder. Adam Crecion tripled to open the second and scored on Cote’s groundout for a 2-0 lead.
Crespi’s Gus Jordt doubled home a run in the second, but Campanella was thrown out at home on the play after Matthews was nailed at the plate by Cote on Crawley’s double earlier in the inning.