Rancho Bernardo's Alika Williams (right) greets teammates after scoring the go-ahead run in the eighth inning.
Rancho Bernardo defeated La Costa Canyon 3-2 in eight innings Saturday night for the Open Division baseball championship at USD’s Fowler Park in a game that ended with celebration amid confusion.
With two outs and runners on first and second, LCC’s Kevin Alazard hit a grounder to second base that was fielded by RB second baseman Adam Storch, who attempted to tag the runner going by him, then threw to first base. Alazard was called out at first, ending the game on a disputed play.
The call set off a dog pile at the pitcher’s mound. RB’s Drew Finley, who was called upon in a rare relief appearance, was in the middle of it.
“When I got that final out, controversial or not controversial, being on the bottom of the dog pile, there’s nothing better,” Finley said.
LCC coach Justin Machado came out to argue the call. The four umpires huddled to discuss it and the celebration stopped. Then one of the umpires signaled out. Game over. And the celebration resumed.
“They said he clearly had his foot on the bag,” Machado said. “There’s not much I can argue there. ...”
“It’s a weird way to end the game. It’s too bad it came down to a play like that.”
“From where we were, he was out,” said RB coach Sam Blalock, who guided the Broncos to the school’s eighth section title.
A boisterous crowd of nearly 1,500 fans watched the Broncos push across a run on a throwing error in the top of the eighth, then saw Finley (11-1) strand the potential tying and winning runs in the victory for RB (26-7).
Finley came on in relief in the sixth inning after freshman right-hander Joey Magrisi had limited the top-seeded Mavericks (26-7) to two runs through five innings.
“He hadn’t relieved like that before,” Blalock said. “That was a new role. He gutted it out.”
LCC defeated the second-seeded Broncos twice during the regular season.
RB led 2-0 when LCC broke through for three hits and a run in the fourth. The Mavericks made it 2-2 on Ryan Orr’s RBI single in the fifth.