Playing at Angel Stadium could have been memorable enough for the Estancia and Costa Mesa high school baseball teams.
The Eagles and Mustangs competed there Wednesday in the Halo Classic. This one was a showcase game, not an Orange Coast League game.
It had a bit of everything.
Heavy rain and eventually hail started in the seventh inning as a storm cloud passed through. The conditions made it difficult for both teams, but ultimately Estancia staged a dramatic comeback.
The Eagles scored all four of their runs with two outs in the bottom of the seventh, earning a 4-3 walk-off victory over the Mustangs after Nick Peralez hit a bloop single down the right-field line to score Garrett Palme.
“I was nervous, you know,” Peralez said. “I was so nervous. Going up there, I was shaking. I knew I was looking for a fastball, you know, and I got a fastball and took it the other way and took it down the line … It’s a game to remember.”
Estancia (8-5) got the dramatic victory over Costa Mesa (7-5), which used a pitcher an inning. Tyler Corkhill, Omar Munoz, Duke Kirby, Gannon Conner, David Gonzalez and Cameron Ellis kept the Eagles off the scoreboard for the first six innings. Riley Mitchell came on for the seventh.
“We have two league games this week, so it wasn’t a game that was going to matter in our league standings,” Costa Mesa coach Kevin Chavez said. “I figured, let’s have our pitchers have an opportunity to pitch off a big-league mound, and their families have an opportunity to see them and take pictures of them at Angel Stadium and go with that. To mean, that’s more important than coming out and playing to win at this juncture when it’s nonleague competition. I was happy with what our guys did.”
Costa Mesa had a 3-0 lead after scoring twice in the top of the seventh. Mark Blanco’s sacrifice fly scored Chris Hall, and Luis Munoz added a run-scoring single that brought in Mitchell.
After Mitchell struck out the first two batters he faced in the bottom of the inning, Estancia was down to its last out.
But Troy Huber drew a walk, and Jake Alai followed with an infield single. Justin Wood’s grounder to third could have ended it, but the throw to first was wide and the bases were loaded.
Chavez brought in Miguel Rodriguez to pitch. What followed were three straight full-count walks — to Palme, Hayden Pearce and Jake Covey. Each forced in a run.
Peralez hit the second pitch he saw, and the Eagles had the dramatic win.
“It’s a big game, big stadium and our rival, but we kept our composure,” Estancia coach Kevin Conlin said. “The kids just battled. They played seven innings … we grinded out some at-bats, which is always a good thing. They had us on the ropes, we just found a way to get on base. The weather played a little bit of a role. The ball’s a little slippery, but we take some pitches sometimes and that’s what we’ve got to do to win. The kids did a good job of just grinding it out.”
Junior left-handed pitcher Dillon Manchester went six strong innings for Estancia, allowing one run on three hits. He walked two and struck out three.
Rodriguez was two for four for Costa Mesa, while Mitchell also had a pair of hits.