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Mr. Clutch wins it for RBV

04/26/2014, 3:54pm PDT
By John Maffei

RBV rallies for two in the seventh to beat LCC


RBV catcher Mike Benson puts the tag on LCC's Sean McElroy, who attempted to score from second in the second inning on a teammate's short single to the outfield. Bill Wechter

— The rains came overnight, and Rancho Buena Vista High baseball coach Sheldon Watkins asked his players to be at the field two hours before first pitch.

Four hours of a spike drag, raking and five bags of a drying agent later, the Longhorns and La Costa Canyon started their Avocado West League game 90 minutes late.

It was worth the effort for RBV, which scored two runs in the bottom of the seventh to edge LCC 2-1.

"The field was more wet than we figured," Watkins said. "But neither coach wanted to postpone the game and play four games in a week instead of three.

"So we made the effort and got the field ready.

"It was a big win, a win that puts us in a position to make a little bit of a run."

Scoreless through six innings, league-leading La Costa Canyon (12-8, 5-1) broke through in the top of the seventh on a bases-loaded walk to Ryan Casper.

Gabe Earich, who had worked out of jams all day, was relieved by Mike Benson, who recorded a strikeout with the bases loaded to end the inning.

LCC pitcher Scott Souter, who was cruising through six innings, but Earich singled to open the bottom of the seventh for RBV (8-12, 2-4). He was sacrificed to second.

Josh Woodard was walked intentionally walked in what LCC coach Justin Machado said was a miscommunication.

After a fly out, Brooks Stotler singled to tie the game and Kevin Collard lined the first pitch into the right-field corner to win the game.

"I've been struggling at the plate, so I needed a big hit there," Collard said. "I'd been thinking too much, so I decided if I got a pitch in my zone I was swinging."

Collard said he got an inside fastball, and didn't miss.

"That's my third game-winning hit of the season, so the guys are calling me 'Mr. Clutch,'" Collard said.

"LCC took the first two games of this series from us, and we couldn't get swept, especially because Gabe was amazing on the mound."

Earich gave up 11 hits, but was helped by a pair of double plays and strong throw from left fielder Stotler, who threw out a runner at home.

"I lost my last game 5-0," Earich said. "Today, I tried not to think about that. I tried to stay positive and pitch with confidence."

LCC left 12 runners on base, including at least one in every inning, two in three innings and the bases loaded once.

"We couldn't string hits together, and we couldn't get a key two-out hit," said Machado. "It's hard to win leaving that many guys on base.

"Weird things happen in baseball. This was one of those weird days."

john.maffei@utsandiego.com

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