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CIF baseball grand slam: No. 2 Eagles fly high with 5-4 win over Metro rival Mariners Phillip Brents | Fri, Jun 13 2014 02:47 PM

San Diego Section Commissioner Jerry Schniepp admits that the section’s playoff format is not perfect but at the same time also states he believes the current plan is superior to the one formerly in place.

“All the baseball divisions this year were extremely competitive — there were a lot of extra-inning games,” Schniepp said.

Tell the Olympian Eagles about that and they will likely agree after winning the east side Chula Vista school’s first division championship in any sport by defeating the Mar Vista Mariners, 5-4, in an all-Metro Conference match-up in last Saturday’s Division IV championship tilt at the University of San Diego.

The Eagles, seeded second in the 12-team division, played five post-season games, including three successive contests against the third-seeded Calexico Bulldogs. In fact, Olympian was down to its last out — and an apparent ouster from the double-elimination tournament — before the host team recorded a stunning 8-7 victory in nine innings on June 4 to qualify for Saturday’s CIF final.

Given an extra game, the Eagles did not squander the opportunity.

Olympian (15-17)  snapped an early 2-2 deadlock with three runs in the bottom of the third inning to go in front 5-2 and weathered a late comeback bid by Mar Vista, which scored single runs in the top of the sixth and seventh innings, to hold on for the history-making victory.

“We don’t do anything easy,” assistant coach Cedric Nealy explained after the game, which was played before a robust gathering of fans from each of the South Bay schools. “Our kids have bought into the mindset of battling to the last out.”

Abraham Villafana and Victor Ramirez each doubled to drive in runs in the bottom of the first inning as the Eagles took a 2-0 lead.

With the score tied 2-2 after the Mariners (19-14) pushed across a pair of runs in the top of the second inning, Olympian scored three runs with two outs in its half of the third inning.

Villafana opened the frame with a pop single and Ramirez followed with a single to place two runners on base. Alfredo Alvarez struck out for the first out of the inning and Alejandro Melgoza popped out to third base for the second out.

Starting pitcher Austin Mead then helped his own cause with a run-scoring single and teammate Greg Brown also singled to drive in another run.

4-2 Eagles.

An infield single by Brandon Ridgels then loaded the bases and Bradley Roberto coaxed a walk from MV starter Javier De la Torre to force in another run.

Mead was not overpowering on the mound but got the outs when he needed to preserve the three-run Olympian lead through four innings.

Daniel Porras was summoned to pitch the final three frames. He was not overpowering either, but managed to subdue the Mariners when needed.

Mar Vista inched closer with one run in the top of the sixth inning to make it a 5-3 ballgame as Julian Briseno, who doubled in the second inning, smacked a base hit up the middle, stole second base and moved to third base on a ground-out. Anthony Bell popped out for the second out of the inning but the runner came in on an ensuing wild pitch.
Porras had successfully pitched out of a bases-loaded jam the previous inning.

The top of the seventh inning proved just as difficult as Marco Leyva, Mar Vista’s leading hitter, doubled down the third base line to lead off the inning. Andrew Robinson followed with a single to put runners at the corners with none out, bringing the potential game-winning run to home plate.

Shades of the Calexico series!

Jacob Rice poked a blooper into short right field to score one run, though another runner was tagged out at second.
With the score now trimmed to 5-4 but still in the Eagles’ favor, the Mariners brought the potential game-winning run to home plate in each of their final at-bats.

Olympian caught a huge break when De la Torre hit into a force play for the second out of the inning. Porras then promptly got ahead 0-2 in the count on the next batter, Chase Titilah, before hitting the MV batsman to place the potential game-winning run at first base.

But the hit batter worked in the Eagles’ favor after the next batter, Briseno, hit into a force play at second base to end the game.

“The last out is never easy,” Porras sighed after he and his teammates had exhausted themselves celebrating the school’s first-ever CIF championship in any sport.

“It’s just feels great to make history,” Roberto said. “I’m ending my high school career with a championship. It doesn’t get any better than that!”

Roberto said the team had to remain calm during the rocky finish.“We just had to come together as a team to finish the game,” he said. “We just had to believe we could win.”

OHS principal Elaine Leano had the honor of spiriting away the championship trophy after the game.

“I’m so proud of the team,” she said. “This will help inspire all our athletic programs on campus.”

Mar Vista, which entered Saturday’s championship game 3-0 in post-season play after defeating fifth-seeded Imperial and ninth-seeded Southwest twice, was making its first appearance in a division final along with Olympian.

Saturday’s game marked the first time that two Metro Conference teams faced one another in a CIF championship game.

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