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San Bruno downs Sun Devils; Tri-County up next

San Bruno rallies to beat Sun Devils; Tri-County next

By Charles Whisnand

Appeal Sports Editor

On a day when the temperature was 100 degrees plus and the action on the field was just as heated with every close call coming under scrutiny, Sierra Sun Devils manager Nick Kuster was left with of all things, goose bumps.

“Goose bumps all day,” Kuster said.

It was a goose bump kind of day for the Sun Devils, who stayed alive in the Joe DiMaggio World Series on Monday with a come-from-behind 13-12 win in eight innings over San Carlos, Calif., at John L. Harvey Field. The Sun Devils overcame a 12-4 deficit over the final two innings thanks to Jordan Hadlock’s dramatic grand slam home run in the bottom of the seventh inning that tied the score 12-12.

The Sun Devils and San Bruno, Calif., then played another dramatic game with San Bruno winning 11-10 in the bottom of the seventh. San Bruno advanced to today’s championship round while the Sun Devils were eliminated.

San Bruno will play the Tri-County Gamblers at 10 a.m. today at John L. Harvey Field. With a win, Tri-County takes the title. If San Bruno wins, it would force another game to be played immediately after the first one for the crown.

“Our team had a lot of heart,” Kuster said. “We’re very proud of them.”

The Sun Devils scored six runs in the third to take a 6-2 lead only to see San Bruno come back to tie the game 6-6. Then the Sun Devils scored three runs in the fifth, with Stephen Yarrow’s two-run double giving the Sun Devils a 9-6 lead.

But the Sun Devils made one of their four errors in the bottom of the fifth that led to two runs for San Bruno, cutting the lead to 9-8. David Leid and Roman Davis singled and Phil Mannelly followed with an RBI single to give the Sun Devils a 10-8 lead in the sixth.

Mike Watkins led off with a home run for San Bruno to cut the deficit to 10-9 in the bottom of the sixth. After Greg Gonzalez doubled, Jimmy Parque followed with a single, but center fielder Niko Saladis gunned down Gonzalez at the plate on a close call that didn’t sit too well with the San Bruno contingent.

Ricky Molina then singled to give San Bruno runners at first and third with one out. Molina went on to break up a double play on a good, hard, clean slide, but a double play could have been called because it appeared Molina slid through the bag.

By rule, Molina could have been called for interference, which would have resulted in an inning double play, preventing San Bruno from scoring the tying run. But no interference was called and San Bruno tied the score 10-10.

It was Royle’s turn to be upset. “You can’t go through the bag, you know that,” Kuster yelled to the umpires.

The umpires actually called the play mechanically correct. Since the base umpire would be looking at the call at first, it was the home plate umpire’s call. The home plate umpire explained between innings, “It’s my call and I didn’t see him go past.”

San Bruno pulled out all the stops as Gonzalez, who was the winning pitcher in San Bruno’s opener, came on to pitch a scoreless seventh and picked up the win.

In the bottom of the seventh, Ivan Hidalgo and Watkins walked. With two outs, Wil Schumacher placed a 3-2 pitch on the outside corner, but in another close call, the pitch was ruled a ball and Gonzalez walked to load the bases. Jimmy Parque followed with a walk-off, game-winning single.

Kuster struck a more conciliatory tone after the game, saying the close calls that went against his team wasn’t it why it lost.

“You can’t blame the aspects of the game,” he said. “We made four errors and those four errors are what cost us the game.”

Davis and Mannelly each had three hits and Yarrow had two hits and four RBI for the Sun Devils. Watkins had two hits and four RBI and Parque and Molina each had two hits for San Bruno.

Against San Carlos, Hadlock’s grand slam tied the score 12-12 in the bottom of the seventh. “Hadlock’s bomb in the first game, I think every coach said, ‘Here it goes,’ and it happens,” Royle said. “He came up big for us. That was a big pick up for us.”

In the bottom of the eighth, Mannelly singled and Yarrow and Hadlock walked to load the bases. Otto Trebotich then walked to force in the winning run.

Scott Greene pitched the last three innings for the win. Hadlock had two hits and five RBI, Davis had two hits and Trebotich added four RBI for the Sun Devils. Tony Cooper had three hits and Jarrod Hopper and Kyle Quinn each had two hits for San Carlos.

“They battled,” said Kuster about his team. “They played for themselves and they played well.”

Notes: Despite throwing on Monday, Gonzalez would be a definite candidate to be used again today. Among the definite candidates for Tri-County is Alex Thomson, who was the winning pitcher for Tri-County in its opener.