When Vince Mori came to the plate for the fourth time, it struck him that he was nearing a milestone.
He was a triple away from hitting for the cycle.
At the end of the game, though, he had to settle for a second consecutive championship in the 63rd annual Lions Baseball Tournament.
Mori slammed his second home run this season, a three-run shot in a nine-run fourth inning, to pace host Westview High to a 14-4 victory over Santa Fe Christian in the 6A Division final Thursday.
Last year, the Wolverines, now 12-1 after winning their 12th straight since opening the season with a loss to Patrick Henry, won the 5A title in this same tournament.
“I think we’ll find out if we’re one of the best teams in the county in the Palomar League,” Westview coach Beau Champoux said. “It’s tough to be the best team if you’re not in the Classic Division of this tournament, but I’d like to think we should be in the discussion.”
Mori helped state the Wolverines’ case in the semifinal, a 7-2 win over Henry to avenge Westview’s only loss, and then in the final.
He had a single in the first inning and double in the third inning before clubbing a shot over the center-field fence. His homer pushed the lead to 9-0.
“I admit, I thought about needing a triple that fourth time up,” Mori said. “No one said anything to me, but in the on-deck circle it dawned on me how close I was to a cycle.”
In the semifinal, Mori pitched 6?2/3 innings of three-hit ball with three walks and 11 strikeouts for his first decision this season.
“I had Wednesday off and I felt OK in the bullpen warming up,” Mori said. “All I did from there out was pound the zone. That’s what we do along with letting the defense help out.”
In the final, Westview raced to a 13-0 lead before Santa Fe Christian (7-7) answered with three runs.
Westview took a 3-0 lead in the first inning on Ryan Eto’s three-run homer to left.
Three innings later, the game was all but decided as the Wolverines sent 14 batters to the plate and each player in the lineup except one scored a run in the rally.
“I was hoping we could erupt first, but once they started hitting it got contagious,” Santa Fe Christian coach Don Mitchell said. “Outside of that one inning it was a 5-4 game and that tells me we showed some improvement this week.”
In addition to Mori's 3-for-5 effort in the finals, the Wolverines also had Eto go 2-for-2 with three RBIs, Cheyenne Giles went 2-for-3 with two RBIs and Kyle Abblitt was 2-for-4 with two RBIs in the 13-hit attack.
Abblitt was 2-for-2 with an RBI against Henry.
Santa Fe Christian had Luke Brown go 2-for-3 and Troy Zarubin go 2-for-4 with an RBI.
It was simply not enough to keep the Wolverines down.