Despite entering the eighth inning down 2-0 and committing five errors on the day, the Lancers stormed back to defeat Los Angeles Harbor College by a score of 3-2.
The victory was capped off by a walk-off RBI by freshman third baseman Bobby Fraijo in front of a home crowd at Jackie Robinson Memorial Field on March 5. The win opened up South Coast Conference play on a very positive note with consistent pitching from freshman starter Tim Shiba and clutch hitting when it really mattered.
â€œHe was unbelievable,â€ said Head Coach Evan O’Meara on Shiba’s outing. â€œThe guy carried only two hits into the seventh inning. It was just a great effort on his part.â€
Facing two outs in the bottom of the eighth inning, the Lancers drew two walks in a row, putting freshman designated hitter Cameron Silva on second base and sophomore first baseman David Halstead on first base.
â€œBeing able to put the ball in play with runners on base has been our Achilles tendon all year,â€ said Coach O’Meara. â€œGetting these guys to believe in themselves and to believe in picking each other up in clutch situations is how we’re going to be successful.â€
Coach O’Meara then decided to use a pinch hitter, freshman second baseman Cody Van-Es, in a very crucial situation. Van-Es then promptly lined a double to center field past a diving catch attempt by LA Harbor outfielder Alex Layton, scoring both runners and knotting the score up at 2-2.
â€œI just got mentally prepared before I even got up there,â€ said Van-Es. â€œI took a deep breath and said a little prayer. I was waiting for a fastball to come to me and I just hit it right back up the middle.â€
With freshman reliever Jamie La Pointe coming in to pitch the top of the ninth inning for the Lancers, he managed to not surrender a single run despite having the bases loaded with two outs. Sophomore center fielder Charles Smith, who had a single and a stolen base on the day, recorded a clutch catch to end the inning.
After freshman catcher Corey Richards singled to start off the inning, sophomore outfielder Tarik El Abour replaced him as a pinch runner. After a sacrifice bunt by Smith and a balk by LA Harbor pitcher Anthony Konders, El Abour was at third base with one out.
After sophomore shortstop Josh Clark walked, Bobby Fraijo knocked in El Abour for the game-winning run and was then mobbed by his teammates as the celebration began.
After the game, David Halstead was intent on the team staying consistent and being prepared for LA Harbor to come out hungry for revenge in the next game. Halstead had two hits, a walk, and scored the game-tying run in the eighth inning.
â€œI was really just trying to get on base so we could create some runs,â€ said Halstead. â€œThey’re going to come at us with fire, so we need to start in the first inning and keep it rolling through the ninth inning.â€
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