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Ocean View baseball loses at La Cañada on 11th-inning walk-off hit in CIF Division 3 quarterfinals

Ocean View’s Gavin Kennedy pitches during a Golden West League game against Segerstrom on Friday, Ma
Ocean View High’s Gavin Kennedy, shown pitching against Segerstrom on March 15, threw 10 innings in the Seahawks 2-1 extra-inning loss in the quarterfinals of the CIF Southern Section Division 3 playoffs at La Canada Friday.
(Scott Smeltzer / Staff Photographer)

La Cañada High’s baseball team was able to wait out Ocean View ace Gavin Kennedy.

The Cal State Fullerton-bound pitcher threw the first 10 innings of Friday’s CIF Southern Section Division 3 quarterfinal playoff game, giving up just two hits and one run.

In the bottom of the 11th inning of a tie game, the Seahawks brought in a new pitcher. And the host Spartans took advantage.

Zach Feehan delivered a walk-off hit, ending the marathon to lift La Cañada to a 2-1 victory.

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The win put the Spartans (21-7) into the semifinals, where they will be at Hesperia Oak Hills (20-7) on Tuesday.

Feehan made it possible.

In the 11th with one out and pinch-runner Liam Hartman on second base, Feehan stepped to the plate against reliever Shane Hoodman. After working the count to 1-2, the next pitch went wild, allowing Hartman to advance to second. Feehan then crushed the next pitch deep into the far corner of left field, where it landed for a double to drive in the game-winning run.

“I was in a hole with two strikes on me and I was just trying to move the guy over,” Feehan said, “but he left a pitch over the plate and I took advantage of it.”

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The win went to Spartans reliever Tai Walton, who came in to pitch a scoreless 11th.

The loss by Ocean View (23-11) wasted a virtuoso performance by Kennedy. The senior struck out eight.

“Their guy on the mound was absolutely lights out,” La Cañada coach Matt Whisenant said. “Honestly, I think he executed every pitch, except maybe [for] a couple. He was phenomenal ... I would say he is the best we’ve faced all year.”

After Kennedy finally gave way after his 10 innings on the mound, La Cañada jumped on the chance to face someone else. Jason McCubbin Jr. led off the bottom of the 11th with a single, just the Spartans’ third hit.

La Cañada, the Rio Hondo League champion, managed just four hits.

“Our senior guy … threw an unbelievable game,” Ocean View coach Tanner VanMaanen said. “He was great. He did what he was supposed to do. In the long run, we were bad. Offensively we made so many blunders, it was bad.”

Senior Ryan Graves, the starting pitcher for the Spartans, had a solid outing. He struck out seven in seven innings, scattering seven hits before exiting after giving up a walk to Sean Muirhead to lead off the eighth.

Connor Buchanan came on in relief and yielded a single to Kennedy. With runners at first and second and Sheldon Knowles at bat, a pitch bounced away from McCubbin, the Spartans catcher, but it stopped only a few feet away. Muirhead tried to advance to third and was thrown out by McCubbin. Knowles then hit a single into right field that would most likely have scored Muirhead from second. Hartman got the next two outs to end the inning.

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La Cañada scored the first run in the third using small ball. Lauenstein led off with a single off Kennedy and advanced to second on a Seahawks throwing error. Feehan then advanced the runner to third with a textbook sacrifice bunt. Jakob Torres followed with a ground out that scored Mike Lauenstein.

Ocean View tied the score at 1-1 in the sixth. Kennedy led off with a double off Graves to the deep right-field corner. He then advanced to third on a groundout. Two batters later, Michael Fernandez drove him in with a single.

That was all the scoring for Golden West League champion Ocean View, which had 11 hits.

“It shows the team that outhits the other team doesn’t always win,” VanMaanen said.

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