One thing is almost certain when the Pierce College baseball team meets Harbor--plenty of runs will be scored.
As it turned out, Saturday’s first-round regional playoff game between the teams was a conservative one compared to previous years’ scoring marathons.
Third-seeded Harbor (30-12) downed the 15th-seeded Brahmas, 9-7. The best-of-three series resumes today at 11 a.m. at Harbor with a second game following if necessary.
“Both these teams always play an emotional series,” Pierce Coach Bob Lofrano said. “And no one ever lets up.”
Leading, 4-3, in the fifth inning, Harbor scored four runs to take an 8-3 lead.
Center fielder Greg Holmes drove in the first run with a double to left field and right fielder Josh Bendik, who had singled, made it home from third base on a fielder’s choice.
First baseman Mike Stembridge drove in the third run with a double to right field before stealing home.
Pierce (25-16) got back into the game in the top of the fifth when center fielder Brian Basowski ripped a grand slam over the 330-foot left-field fence.
The sophomore went three for five with an additional run batted in and a double.
Third baseman Lou Tapia, first baseman Kevin Milligan and catcher Brian Sturges scored on the homer. Tapia, who went four for five, singled to left before Milligan and Sturges walked.
The Brahmas had a great chance to win the game in the seventh but left the bases loaded. They also left a man on in the eighth.
“We just hit that wall for some reason,” Lofrano said. “But you also have to look at the other side--their pitching did the job.”
Sophomore Mark Chavez (9-2) earned the victory. The Brahmas got nine hits and seven runs off him in five innings. Reliever Tim Newville gave up four hits.
Pierce’s Adam West (10-5) went seven innings and gave up 10 hits, struck out four and walked three.
“The West kid showed a lot,” Harbor Coach Tony Bloomfield said. “I thought he was done and he came back and battled. He’s a Division I pitcher if I ever saw one.”
Harbor scored in the eighth inning when shortstop Jay Uhlman smacked a curveball over the left-field fence.
Pierce right fielder Robert Vazquez was ejected in the fifth inning for shoving Uhlman after getting picked off second base.
“This is real competitive,” Bloomfield said. “Both teams respect each other but at the same time neither team likes each other.”