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Death by a thousand bunts vs. Santana

05/03/2014, 5:24pm PDT
By Bill Dickens, Special to the U-T

League-leading Sultans play little ball in Grossmont Valley win over El Capitan

— Santana’s Alan Strong hit the ball about 30 feet, scoring runners from second and third in the Sultans’ 5-4 Grossmont Valley League baseball win Saturday at El Capitan High.

Actually, Strong made contact in a suicide squeeze situation that the Vaqueros mishandled, permitting Christian Mendez to score from third followed by Aidan Rasmusson from second to break a 3-3 tie in the sixth inning.

“I don’t really get a whole lot of at-bats,” said Strong, who is the ace of the Sultans’ pitching staff. “But my coaches told me I was going up there to squeeze and that was my focus.

“The runners were in motion so I knew I had to put the ball on the ground.”

Strong rolled the ball to the El Cap third baseman, who threw to the plate too late as Mendez scored. Then the catcher fired to first base in an attempt to get Strong, but the second baseman covering first dropped the throw, allowing Rasmusson to touch the plate without breaking stride.

All five runs for league-leading Santana (13-10, 5-2) were unearned as El Capitan (11-10, 3-2) committed four errors.

The Sultans played a perfect game of little ball as they executed four sacrifice bunts and two bunt singles.

“We like to put pressure on the other team, and bunting as well as we do is a great way to do that,” said Sultans coach Rigo Ledezma.

Strong (5-2) gave up one run and three hits in three innings of relief. He entered the game with one out in the fourth, stranding three El Capitan runners to end the inning.

Jacob Odenkirk, who started the game at third base, was 2-for-3 with a double and two runs scored for Santana. He also got the save, leaving the potential tying and winning runs on base in the seventh inning.

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