Olympian runner Alejandro Melgoza slides into third against Calexico. The Eagles advanced to the San Diego Section Division IV championship game against Mar Vista at noon Saturday at USD.
CHULA VISTA Stationed at third base, Olympian High’s Alfredo Alvarez tiptoed toward home plate, eyeing Leopoldo Gil-Lamadrid as the Calexico pitcher initiated his windup.
The 2-2 curveball dipped into the dirt, skidding past the catcher.
Immediately, Alvarez charged and slid beneath Gil-Lamadrid’s tag at home plate.
“Safe,” the umpire yelled, extending his hands out.
“I received the green light,” said Olympian’s senior catcher, panting. “Anything in the dirt.”
Alvarez’s dash completed a three-run, bottom-of-the-ninth rally to propel the second-seeded Eagles past the No. 3 Bulldogs 8-7 in Wednesday’s fifth-round elimination game of the San Diego Section Division IV playoffs.
Olympian (15-16) advances to the school’s first baseball championship game, facing Mar Vista (19-13) at noon Saturday at USD.
The Eagles dug themselves a hole, trailing by five runs after three innings.
“Speed and some timely defense helped us out of the jam,” Olympian coach Lloyd Dawson said.
The Eagles chipped away in the sixth inning, scoring three runs before tying the game as sophomore infielder Austin Mead scored on a wild pitch.
Calexico pulled away again, taking a 7-5 lead in the top of the ninth on an errant throw to first base.
In the bottom of the inning, Alvarez drove in two runs with a double to left field before scoring the winning run.
The loss ended a long week for Calexico (17-11), which forced Wednesday’s game in the double-elimination bracket by defeating Olympian 4-1 on Tuesday. The Bulldogs logged almost 500 miles traveling back and forth to Chula Vista on consecutive days.