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Rancho Bernardo slugger no slug rounding the bases

05/24/2013, 10:48pm PDT
By John Maffei

Broncos junior scores from first base on throwing error for playoff win.

Alex Jackson has trotted around the bases after home runs 28 times in the last two seasons.

Friday afternoon, the Rancho Bernardo High junior catcher did his best Everth Cabrera imitation, flying around the bases, scoring from first base on a throwing error to give the top-seeded Broncos a 2-1, eight-inning win over visiting Vista in a San Diego Section Open Division second-round game.

The win earns RB (28-4) a bye on Elimination Saturday. Vista (21-12) hosts archrival Rancho Buena Vista (14-17) at 11 a.m. today with the loser eliminated.

“With the emotion and importance of the game, errors will happen,” said Vista coach Rick Lepire. “It’s a shame we had a couple of hiccups.

“It would have been nice to win this and skip over Saturday, but now we have to respond. We’re still the defending champions. Now we need to respond like champions.”

Jackson reached base on a force play for the second out of the eighth inning. Pitcher Casey Henderson then hit a tapper halfway down the first base line.

Vista pitcher Brett Seeburger fielded the ball but threw wildly past first baseman Josh Cuppett. With a right-handed hitter at the plate, Vista right fielder Billy Roth was playing in the right-center field gap.

“I saw the right fielder wasn’t close to the ball, then I saw Alex coming around second and his eyes were as big as saucers,” said RB third base coach Mark Furtak. “At that point I had to send him.”

Jackson said he saw the ball coming around second, and hoped he’d get the green light from Furtak.

“When I did, I put my head down and tried to get to the plate as fast as I could,” Jackson said. “I looked at the catcher, watching for how he was setting up. I could see he was waiting for the throw and tried to get my hand on the back of the plate.”

Seeburger’s throwing error put an end to a great pitcher’s duel.

The San Diego State-bound Seeburger, who is 9-4, struck out only two, but got 13 ground ball outs.

“Seeburger has dirty stuff,” Jackson said. “His changeup cuts and drops. It’s almost like it stops in front of the plate and waits for you to swing.”

Henderson, who improved to 6-2, earned the complete-game win for the Broncos. He allowed just five hits, walked one and struck out one. He got 12 fly ball outs, one on a sensational catch by left fielder Jackson Faucett, who robbed Austin Ott of a home run to end the eighth.

“Off the bat, I knew it was going to be close to going out of the park,” Faucett said. “The ball was hooking, so I had to change direction. I felt the warning track, took one more step and jumped.”

Asked if the ball was over the fence, Faucett said, “That catch is framed in my mind. Yes, it was a home run.”

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