NORTHWEST GLENDALE — The final out of Monday afternoon's nonleague contest between host Hoover High and visiting South Pasadena didn't come without controversy.
With the Tornadoes having already scored once in the seventh, Kevin Mendoza stepped up to the plate with runners on second and third, looking to further cut into the now three-run deficit.
The junior then got the pitch he wanted and lined a single, scoring pinch runner Devaughn Williams. Cameron Doran, who was on second, also got the green light but was called out — much to the dismay of Doran, teammates and Coach Joe Cotti.
"I knew it was safe, the other coach knew it was safe, everybody knew it was safe," said Cotti, after a 6-4 nonleague defeat, of the play that would have seen the Tornadoes with the game-tying run on first base. "The umpire was simply in a rush."
For Hoover (3-12), the final out of its final nonleague game of the season overshadowed a game in which the offense managed just three hits through six innings, while issuing nine walks from the mound.
The first inning was the only other inning the Tornadoes manufactured multiple hits. After Michael Zalin and Doran hit consecutive singles, Marin picked up the first of his two RBIs with a groundout that scored Zalin, tying the game at 1-1.
South Pasadena (8-10) wasted little time in re-taking the lead on an infield single from Brendan Perry that gave the Tigers a 2-1 advantage. Anthony D'oro singled in the first run of the game with two out in the top of the first.
Including the run in the second, South Pasadena scored at least one run in the next three innings to take a 5-1 lead going into the fifth.
It was then that Doran relieved starting pitcher Anthony Cuccinelo, and stopped the bleeding as he allowed just one run on no hits and four strikeouts.
"Anthony started a little sluggish, and walked some guys, but he came around and settled down," said Cotti of his starter, who walked four batters in the first inning and eight overall. "Cameron pitched fantastic."
Doran picked up Cuccinelo on offense also as his single in the fifth scored Cuccinelo, who had advanced to third base on a passed ball.
The Tornadoes had a good opportunity to add more with Doran on first and Zalin on second with one out and trailing, 5-2, but Zalin was thrown out at third and the inning ended on a strikeout.
The Tornadoes left six runners on base for the game.
"There were plenty of opportunities," Cotti said. "We got some key hits in the last inning, but what about the other chances. We just didn't execute."
The Tigers increased their lead to 6-2 on a sacrifice fly off the bat of Tony Veiller.
"It wasn't the prettiest of games, but we'll take the win," South Pasadena Coach Anthony Chevrier said. "From my vantage point, I think the runner was safe, but the umpire thought he wasn't so that's that."
The seventh inning saw Hoover score multiple runs for the first time in a game that took nearly three hours — a possible factor in the umpire's call that went against the Tornadoes, according to Cotti.
Doran went two for three at the plate with two singles and the RBI.
The loss puts an end to a two game winning streak, including the team's first Pacific League win that came at Glendale against the Nitros on Friday.
The Tornadoes will host Muir today as they get league play into full swing.