Richie Nunis delivered a one-out bases loaded single deep into right-center field to lift Laguna to a 5-4 victory over Victor Valley (14-17) as Laguna defeated the Jackrabbits for the second consecutive season in CIF play on Saturday, May 18.
Last year Laguna won in the bottom of the seventh on a walk, but 2013 required a more dramatic finish.
Down 4-0 with one out, Laguna sent eight batters to the plate to pull out the win. The rally started with Larry Stewart beating out an infield hit, Adam Rodner taking a hit by pitch followed by a double by Preston Grand Pre, who drilled a bill down the third base line scoring Stewart.
The Jackrabbits then replaced starter Danny Perez, who had pitched brilliantly all day with Jacob Padilla. The new
pitcher got a bad break when his first pitch was popped by Grant Wilhelm into a routine fly to right field appearing to be securely caught only to pop out of the fielder’s glove moments later straight to the ground.
After a pause, the Laguna players recognized what had happened to advance their base. Again with the bases loaded, Robbie McInerny was hit by a pitch to make the game 2-4, Victor Valley. The rattled visitors then gave up a single to Blake Hester and a walk to Steven Harrison, each with an RBI to set up the dramatic finish.
Starter Jackson Rees and a perfect 10-0 record in 10 starts entering the contest but gave up all four runs including back-to-back home runs in the fourth inning. Kurt Rabone came in relief for the fifth inning while Cole Millerd (3-0) completed the final two innings for the win.
Breakers (26-2) play on Tuesday at La Sierra (17-10) in Riverside at 3 p.m. Should they win, the team will most likely be home on Friday, May 24 for the quarterfinal contest. A win on Tuesday will tie this team with the 2011 squad for the most season victories in 75 seasons of play for Laguna baseball.