Something had to give. And something did: the center-field fence at Notre Dame High.
In the sixth inning of a hitless Mission League baseball game, Notre Dame High's Andy Lutz smacked a pitch to deep center and Chaminade's Scott Davis gave chase.
The ball grazed Davis' glove just as he collided with the collapsible outfield fence. Davis, the ball and the fence all tumbled to the ground as Lutz circled the bases to provide the only scoring in the Knights' 1-0 victory Wednesday.
The win improved Notre Dame to 5-2-1, 3-0-1 in league play. Chaminade, which defeated Hueneme, 26-6, in a nonleague game Monday, dropped to 7-5, 2-3.
"First home run I think I've hit in my life," Lutz said.
It almost was the first no-hitter for Chaminade senior right-hander Gabe Crecion (1-2). Instead, Crecion was left with a one-hit loss and a sour taste in his mouth.
In 16 previous innings in which Crecion has pitched, Chaminade has scored only one run.
"A little," Crecion said. "We need to hit better. You can see that for yourself. We're better than that."
Senior right-hander Matt Egan (3-0) kept pace with Crecion, holding Chaminade hitless through five innings. The Eagles managed their only hit in the seventh when Brandon Gray singled off reliever Chris Cross with one out. But Cross retired the next two batters to notch his fourth save.
"I didn't mind coming out," Egan said. "I just wanted to come out here and throw well against a good team. I threw a no-hitter once in Little League."
Egan and Crecion overpowered batters from the start, working on dueling perfect games until Crecion yielded a leadoff walk to Wes Klain in the fourth. Crecion finished with 10 strikeouts, including eight in a string of 10 batters.
Egan struck out five and did not allow a baserunner until Kevin Lohman reached on an error in the fifth. Cross, a side-arming left-hander, struck out one.
The game was completed in less than 90 minutes.
"I could have left (Egan) in and he might have done OK," Notre Dame Coach Tom Dill said. "But I wanted them to get something different to look at."
Chaminade Coach Denny Barrett viewed things differently than the umpire on the game's pivotal play. Before Lutz had circled the bases, Barrett was arguing with the man in blue that the ball had dropped in the field of play.
"I thought it was a double," Barrett said.
Davis, who was not injured in the collision, said he could not be certain.
"All I know is, it hit the tip of my glove," Davis said.