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Three-run homer ignites La Costa Canyon

05/01/2013, 10:47pm PDT
By Terry Monahan

Mavericks remain in thick of chase for Avocado West League championship.

— With two outs and two runners on base in the fifth inning, Anthony Balderas got a beneficial call on a check swing.

On the next pitch, the La Costa Canyon High third baseman changed the game.

Balderas launched a 2-0 pitch over the left-field fence to give the Mavericks a spark that had been missing.

The senior’s three-run homer against Vista starter Billy Roth, his second of the season, kept La Costa Canyon in the hunt for the Avocado West League baseball championship with a 6-3 victory on Wednesday.

“We can’t lose a game now,” LCC coach Justin Machado said. “I was proud of the way the guys played on offense because they fought and chipped away against one of their aces.”

While the Mavs (18-7, 9-1) remain in contention with Carlsbad, which takes on La Costa Canyon three times next week, Vista, the San Diego Section Division I champion in 2012, must adjust its goals.

The Panthers (17-9, 6-4) are now focused on gaining a favorable seed in the Open Division playoffs because the chances of repeating as league champion has all but vanished.

“All we have left are playoff-type games the rest of the way,” Vista coach Rick Lepire said. “We hadn’t lost to an Open Division team until this one.

“The homer changed everything. Their bench was quiet. You couldn’t hear boo from over there until the homer.”

Balderas’ blast gave a 3-2 lead to LCC, which had no runners reach third base until the fifth inning.

“This was pretty much of a playoff game for us,” said the San Diego State-bound Balderas. “There was no panic on the bench. We stayed on the ball. We thought we could get to him.

“I had a sense of what he was going to throw. It was a fastball and it was a little up.

“I did what I had to do in the fifth — get the team on top.”

The Mavs added two runs in the sixth inning on Sam Casinelli’s single to left and Colin Winters’ long sacrifice fly. They scored one final run in the seventh inning on a wild pitch.

Balderas then pitched a scoreless seventh inning helped out by a double play after opening with a pair of walks to close out the game.

LCC starting pitcher Kyle Sachrison, the 6-foot-8 center on the basketball team, picked up the win to improve his record to 4-2 by allowing eight hits and no walks while striking out one.

“He just went out and pitched, not throw,” Balderas said. “He hit his spots and got his grounders when he needed them. What you saw out there was just what big Sach gives us.”

Vista reached Sachrison for a pair of first-inning runs. Austin Ott put the Panthers up 1-0 with a sacrifice fly and Justin Ennis singled in the second run.

Four innings later, Balderas erased the deficit.

“Their guy was rocking and rolling for four innings,” Balderas said. “But we stayed in the game.

“Coach always says there’s always more left in the game, and even though it was the fifth inning he was right.”

And Balderas was right on the spot.

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Tag(s): News  La Costa Canyon  Vista  News