Entering Wednesday afternoon's crucial Sea View League showdown between the Laguna Hills Hawks and Trabuco Hills Mustangs, nobody anticipated an extra-innings defensive thriller -- but that's exactly what transpired. Laguna Hills narrowly defeated the Mustangs 1-0 in dramatic fashion.
Trabuco pitcher Ethan Brodsky took the mound in the bottom of the 15th, giving up a lead-off single to Laguna's Cody Imsande. With the game still scoreless after three hours of baseball, the crowd gasped as Imsande reached first and Chris DeBarro stepped up to bat.
DeBarro smacked one down the third base line, and Trabuco initially fielded it. However, everything quickly went downhill for the Mustangs, as an error thrown from third base soared past second and into center field. Capitalizing on the rare chance to score, Imsande dashed around third toward home and scored the winning run.
"I'm really tired right now, just glad they threw the ball away at second base," Imsande said right after the win. "I thought I was safe because I didn't see the catcher make that play."
Hawks starting pitcher Brandon Taylor pitched a brilliant 7 1/3 no-hit innings, while Broox Mahr and Ryan McCarrell stayed consistent for Trabuco. Laguna's Cameron Watts picked up right where Taylor left off, staying composed against tenacious Trabuco batters.
After the win, head coach Drew Hillman raved about his team's pitching.
"Brandon and Cameron jumped ahead throwing strikes, our guys just had multiple pitches working for them," Hillman said.
Through the first 14 1/2 innings, both teams pieced together hits, but couldn't finish the job. Innings 1-7 featured many strikeouts and groundouts, and several three up, three down appearances from both sides.
After seven innings, the teams failed to score, knotted at zero and headed into extras. Taylor's command started to fade a bit in the eighth, but Trabuco left a runner on base, and the score remained 0-0.
Trabuco Hills finished with totals of five hits and two errors. The Hawks smacked seven hits and committed two errors of their own. Laguna's late-game heroics gave them their fifth victory of the season, while Trabuco drops to 13-8-1.