La Quinta doesn't often give opponents the chance to win, so when the opportunity arrives, it's best to take advantage.
Garden Grove may rue not doing so. The Argonauts limited the Aztecs to five hits, denied unbeaten left-hander Joe Garcia his sixth consecutive victory, but still wound up losing to the defending Southern Section Division III champions Wednesday, 5-4, in extra innings.
La Quinta (11-1-1, 3-0) assumed sole possession of first place in the Garden Grove League when Mark Ukleja scored in the eighth on Jon Gibson's slow infield grounder to third. Ukleja opened the inning with a single, stole second and made it to third on Brian Martin's infield hit.
Garden Grove (4-6, 2-1) lost a chance to win it in the bottom of the seventh when Greg Pines, on second, assumed La Quinta reliever Greg Jones was going to the plate and took off for third. Instead Jones threw to third to trap Pines in a rundown.
La Quinta had a 3-0 lead in the fourth, but Garden Grove scored four times in the bottom of the inning, the tying and go-ahead runs coming on Dustin Frei's single. Argonaut starter Kevin Loken (2-2) had a few wild moments--hitting two batters while striking out eight and walking two in eight innings. But he carried a one-hitter into the sixth before Craig Kuzmic hit his second home run of the season.
Jones (3-0), who relieved Garcia in the sixth, pitched two scoreless innings for the victory. Corey Fox, who began the game at third base, pitched the eighth for his first save.