Wed, May 29 2013 05:12 PM Posted By: Phillip Brents
Few teams get a second chance in postseason competition and the odds seemed to favor the top-seeded Castle Park Trojans in Tuesday’s San Diego Section Division IV semifinal playoff game.
The Trojans were stung in their playoff opener, losing 3-0 to eighth-seeded Mt. Miguel on the strength of a no-hitter thrown by Matador Daniel Ronk.
But Castle Park regrouped by winning its next two contests in the single-elimination challenger bracket to get a shot at redemption by playing for the right to advance to Friday’s division championship game at Cal State San Marcos.
The Trojans eliminated fourth-seeded Imperial, 5-1, in last Friday’s second round game and got payback by eliminating Mt. Miguel, 11-1, in third-round play a day later.
That left Castle Park and fifth-seeded Mt. Carmel as the only two teams standing on their side of the bracket, and the Trojans can only kick themselves after wasting what seemed like a season’s worth of scoring chances.
The Sundevils finally cashed in for a 3-1 victory in 11 innings.
Mt. Carmel (12-21) will play sixth-seeded El Centro Southwest (17-10) for Friday’s division title. Game time is 3:30 p.m.
“It was three or four innings in a row that we either couldn’t get the bunt down or our offense dried up,” CPHS coach Francisco Moya said.
In the bottom of the fifth inning, a walk to Genaro Alonzo and an ensuing double by Anthony Wiggins put Trojans at second and third bases with none down.
Mt. Carmel’s Zach Martirano struck out the next batter, then intentionally walked Alex Uribe to load the bases.
Cole Mason, who relieved Martirano, the induced CP starter Javier Vega to hit into a double play to end the inning.
CP catcher Eric King opened the bottom of the sixth inning with a sharp single up the middle but was promptly erased on a double play.
Wiggins cracked a two-out double to center field in the bottom of the seventh inning but the next batter field out to end the threat.
In the bottom of the eighth inning, another golden opportunity presented itself for the Trojans as Vega singled and King followed with a booming double to put runners at second and third with one down.
However, the hosts wen out meekly via a strikeout and ground-out.
The frustration continued, and so did the 1-1 standoff.
Wiggins singled and stole second base but was stranded there in the bottom of the ninth.
In the bottom of the 10th, Uribe led off with a walk but was caught stealing. King then beat out an infield single and stole second but was left there after a ground-out.
Sundevil catcher C.J. Chew started the visitor’s game-winning rally in the top of the 11th inning by singling up the middle. Jacob Cope then tripled him in to score the go-ahead run and Cope then came home on an ensuing balk.
Jared Mallari, the fourth Mt. Carmel pitcher used in the game, shut down the Trojans in order in the bottom of the 11th.
Castle Park used three pitchers. Vega went the first nine, scattering seven hits while striking out six.
Wiggins pitched one inning and Alex Meza closed out the game.
Wiggins had given the Trojans a 1-0 lead on a first-inning home run while #22 doubled to score teammate Tiler Miller in the top of the third.
Both teams finished with nine hits.
King got the win in last Friday’s elimination game while Wiggins picked up the victory in Saturday’s contest.
In the rematch against the Matadors, the Trojans pushed across eight runs in the fifth inning. Kenny Netemeyer, Uribe and Vega each scored twice in the game.
Castle Park ended the season 20-12-1.
In 102 plate appearances, Wiggins had fashioned a .400 hitting average to go with 16 RBI, nine doubles, three triples and two home runs. In 100 plate appearances, Vega ranked second on the team with a .369 hitting average and had collected a team-high 20 RBI.
Vega carried a 5-1 record and 1.09 earned-run average in team statistics compiled through May 10.
“I’m proud of all the kids,” Moya said. “We never died even when we didn’t execute. These kids kept it going until the end.”
Fourth-seeded Montgomery (24-8) met playoff elimination after dropping a 5-2 decision to eighth-seeded Mira Mesa in third round action on Saturday. The reiging South Bay League champion Aztecs, who opened the tournament with a key eight-inning 5-4 win against fifth-seeded Cathedral Catholic on May 22, dropped into the challenger bracket following a narrow 1-0 setback to top-seeded Carlsbad last Friday.
Hitting leaders this season for Montgomery included Ernie Marquez (.423), Dean Nevarez (.397), Jose Antonio Gudino (.394), Jesus Cerda (.386) and Jesus Estrada (.356). Gudino led the Aztecs with 28 RBI, followed by Mario Perez (.308 hitting average) with 16, Martin Rendon (.292 hitting average) with 15 and Cerda and Jonathan Villa (.342 hitting average) with 14 each.
Olympian, which won its opening two playoff games, finished 12-21 after losses to sixth-seeded El Centro Southwest (10-5 last Friday) and second-seeded Orange Glen (9-0 on Saturday).
Abraham Villafana led the Eagles with a .370 hitting average in 118 plate appearances this spring. Four players tied for the team lead with 16 RBI: Daniel Gutierrez, Brandon Greenwell, Victor Ramirez and Villafana.
Bradley Roberto paced Olympian with a 1.43 earned-run average.
Hilltop ended its season 21-12 after going 0-2 in postseason play. After dropping their playoff opener to fifth-seeded El Camino on May 22, the fourth-seeded Lancers exited the playoffs after last Friday’s 12-4 second-round loss to top-seeded La Jolla Country Day.
Sixth-seeded Lutheran advanced as far as Monday’s fourth round of the Division V playoffs. Lutheran ended its season 12-12 following a 6-4 loss to third-seeded Julian while and eighth-seeded Chula Vista High Tech (10-16) made it as far as Saturday’s third round, dropping an 8-7 decision to top-seeded Foothills Christian in eight innings.
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