Matt Quintanar hits walk-off grand slam to give Hart playoff victory
With one memorable, powerful swing, Matt Quintanar sent a fastball over the right-field fence, over the scoreboard and on top of the roof of a portable classroom in the bottom of the eighth inning for a walk-off grand slam that gave Hart a 7-3 victory over Royal in a dramatic Southern Section Division 2 playoff opener Thursday afternoon at Hart.
Hart players charged onto the field from the dugout to greet Quintanar with a massive group hug as he touched home plate.
“I got a fastball that was in the zone finally, I swung at it and it went a long way,” he said.
Quintanar, Hart’s standout senior catcher who’s committed to Pepperdine, had been having a miserable day at the plate. He popped out with two runners aboard in the first. He struck out with a wild swing in the second. He struck out looking in the fifth. But baseball is about redemption and waiting for the next opportunity.
Things started to turn around for him in the bottom of the seventh. With two out and Hart trailing 3-2, Quintanar was walked intentionally because there was a runner on second. Royal appeared ready to end the game on a ground ball hit to its shortstop. But Quintanar hustled to second, slid and was called safe. Hart then tied the score on a bases-loaded walk.
In the eighth, Caiden Helgeson led off with a single. After a sacrifice, Helgeson moved to third on a ground out. Reagan Meyer was intentionally walked. Then Brayden Jefferis was hit by a pitch, loading the bases for Quintanar against Royal relief pitcher Matt O’Brien. After a first-pitch ball, Quintanar got the next pitch that he had been waiting for all day.
It was the first time that Hart (20-9) had scored a run without the aid of a walk. Three times the Indians scored on bases loaded walks. Royal ace Trevor Hansen walked seven in 6 2/3 innings.
“I’d rather have him up to the plate than anyone else,” Hart coach Jim Ozella said. “He clutched up.”
And what was Quintanar thinking before he came to the plate?
“The thought of it being my last high school game ever,” he said. “I wasn’t going to let it happen on my watch.”
Hart advances to play Long Beach Millikan on Tuesday. Royal, which received three hits from Cole Georgia, finished 19-6.
Crescenta Valley 2, South Hills 0: The Falcons eliminated the No. 2 seed in Division 2. Jameson Ferraro threw a two-hit shutout, striking out three and walking none. Kris McCollum drove in both runs.
Millikan 10, Mission Viejo 1: Myles Patton struck out nine for the Rams.
Sierra Canyon 6, Simi Valley 1: Jaden Noot went three for three and gave up two hits in 5 2/3 innings.
Quartz Hill 9, Paraclete 2: Logan Reddemann threw six innings and Gus Swaner had a three-run home run.
Warren 2, Beckman 1: Rocco Caballero had a home run and double for Warren.
Etiwanda 10, Temecula Valley 2: Armando Brisneo finished with four RBIs to lead Etiwanda.
Norco 3, Sonora 0: Ryan Jenkins threw the shutout.
Lakewood 1, Moorpark 0: Anthony Eyanson struck out eight and gave up two hits to win the pitcher’s duel over Jake Thrift, who struck out nine in six innings.
Loyola 5, San Marcos 4: Down 3-0, Loyola scored five runs in the top of the seventh to secure the Division 4 victory. Jackson Shea had two hits and two RBIs.
Granada Hills 7, Chatsworth 3: The Highlanders wrapped up the West Valley League title and the No. 1 seed for the City Section Open Division playoffs.
El Camino Real 4, Cleveland 1: The Royals finished in third place in the West Valley League behind Oscar Lopez, who threw a complete game.
Birmingham 13, Taft 3: Dom Cervantes and Robert Pitts each contributed three hits and three RBIs to help the Patriots claim second place in the West Valley League.
Don Lugo 2, JSerra 1: Ovionna Hayes and Emily Bell combined on a four-hitter for Don Lugo.
Sherman Oaks Notre Dame 3, Long Beach Poly 1: Ella Parker homered and Kiki Mashhoud allowed five hits to lead Notre Dame.
Villa Park 4, Visa Murrieta 0: Sydney Somerndike struck out 16, walked none and allowed two hits.
Oaks Christian 11, Valley View 0: The top-seeded Lions received home runs from Micaela Kastor, Lily Knox and Rylee McCoy.
Beaumont 6, Sultana 0: Cambria Salmon struck out 19 for Beaumont.
Orange Lutheran 10, Riverside Poly 0: Kai Minor had a three-run home run and finished with five RBIs.
Granada Hills 3, El Camino Real 1: Hannah Di Genova went four for four.
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