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Calvary Christian happy to hit the road

05/27/2014, 10:58pm PDT
By John Maffei

Lions don't have home field, so team will continue driving to games in playoffs

Calvary Christian pitcher Matt Hartman gave up three hits, walked four, struck out nine and didn’t allow an earned run. The higher-seeded Lions were the designated home team against the Pirates at Oceanside.

— Life on the road will continue for at least two more games for the Vista Calvary Christian baseball team.

Without a home field, the Lions had played 27 games on the road.

Road game No. 28 was a winner as the eighth-seeded Lions — the home team at Oceanside — beat the No. 9 Pirates 3-2 Tuesday in a San Diego Section Division III play-in game.

With the win, Calvary (16-12) advances to play at top-seeded Santana today as the double-elimination portion of the playoffs begin.

“We rented Calvin Christian for three home games and won a couple of coin flips in the Lions Tournament, so we haven’t been the away team every game,” said Lions coach Steve Whitley. “But we’ve had to drive to every game we’ve played.

“So this was nothing new for these guys.”

Facing elimination, Whitley went to his ace — senior right-hander Matt Hartman. The Arizona-bound Hartman, who has also talked with 25 major league teams about next week’s draft, gave up just three hits, walked four, struck out nine and didn’t allow an earned run.

Asked what was working, Hartman was honest when he said “Nothing.”

“My curve was just spinning, my change-up wasn’t there and the velocity on my fastball (which has touched 92 mph) was sitting in the mid-80s,” Hartman said. “But my catcher (Micah Anselmo) did a great job mixing up pitches. And I had a good defense behind me.”

Hartman’s throwing error led to an unearned run in the sixth, but Lions right fielder Jake Knowles made nice catches on balls hit by Andy Echeverria with a runner on in the third and by Derek Greedus with two on in the fifth.

“Either one of those could have been an inside-the-park home run had he missed them,” Oceanside coach Dave Barrett said after his team finished the season at 16-14. “He made two very good plays.

“I was really proud of the way we battled Hartman. He’s very good.”

Left-hander Mark Carmack was solid for Oceanside, allowing two earned runs on five hits while striking out five.

Carmack was in trouble in the first inning when Calvary loaded the bases with no outs. He got away cheaply enough, getting a double-play ball and a strikeout.

Oceanside tied it in the third with an infield error the key.

Calvary struck for two runs in the fifth with David Carpenter and Andrew Leakey getting RBIs.

Oceanside got a run back in the sixth when Ryan Morace led off with a double and the Lions committed two errors behind Hartman.

With two outs in the seventh, Hartman walked Echeverria to give Oceanside a heartbeat. But the next hitter popped up to end the game.

“Pitching on the road really doesn’t bother me,” Hartman said. “I’ve pitched in all kids of ballparks and off all kinds of mounds.

“Really, I think we had the advantage because we’ve played all our games on the road.”

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