CHULA VISTA Bonita Vista was one out from beating Santa Fe Christian on Thursday to advance to the Division II championship game when Barons reliever Brandon Torio ran into trouble.
Up by two runs, Torio loaded the bases then allowed a single to center field that looked certain to score the runner on second and tie the game.
But Bonita Vista center fielder Blake Flippen’s perfect throw bounced once before reaching catcher Chris O’Neill, who blocked the plate and applied the tag for the final out in a 5-4 win.
Bonita Vista (23-10) clinched the school’s first baseball championship appearance since 1992.
“I visualized the ball coming to me and I was going to make that throw,” Flippen said. “And that’s what I did.”
Bonita Vista was limited to three singles in the game, but all came in a five-run first inning that was extended twice when Barons players reached first base after striking out on wild pitches.
Eduardo Perez earned the win for Bonita Vista.
“When I saw Blake field that ball, it’s just insane the cannon he had,” said O’Neill, whose team will face El Camino in trying to win the first San Diego Section baseball title in school history.
“It’s epic because it’s never happened. We always choked in the playoffs, but look at us now, we’re off to the big game on Saturday.”