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Henry wins slugfest to open postseason

05/23/2016, 8:29pm PDT
By John Maffei

Patriots senior hits two long home runs in 17-13 play-in victory over Ramona

Patrick Henry coach Jack Lococo saw his team open the playoffs by scoring 17 runs in a win over Ramona.

— Patrick Henry's ballpark is like "playing in the Grand Canyon," according to Patriots coach Jack Lococo.

Ramona's home field plays like an air hockey game with balls flying over the short fences.

Monday, in a San Diego Section Division II play-in game, senior Trevin Esquerra hit a pair of balls that might have cleared the Grand Canyon, belting two homers and finishing with six RBIs as Henry beat Ramona 17-13 in a wild slugfest.

The Patriots (11-15) advance and play at No. 5-seeded Mira Mesa today in another must-win game. Ramona (17-13), the Valley League champion, sees its season end.

Henry and Mira Mesa -- Eastern League foes -- played three one-run games with Mira Mesa winning two.

"Both homers were on fastballs down and in ... and I put a hurt on 'em," Esquerra said. "I know our record isn't that good, but we've been in every game."

Henry opened the game scoring eight runs in the first innings on just two hits, taking advantage of four walks, two hit batters and a pair of Ramona errors, one on a double-play ball.

Esquerra walked and scored and had a sacrifice fly in the inning.

Ramona climbed to within 11-10 when Cameron Rowles slugged a three-run homer in the fourth, but Henry went back up 13-10 on a long two-run homer to right by the left-hand hitting Esquerra in the fifth.

The lead was short-lived as Ramona rallied to tie the game at 13 in the sixth with Zach Sherman's two-run homer the big blow.

But Esquerra was coming up in the seventh and the senior first baseman came through again, slugging a three-run homer.

In the back-and-forth game, Tyler Engquist came out of the bullpen to hurl a 1-2-3 seventh for Henry.

"This was a great team win," Esquerra said. "We score eight to start, then it became pretty obvious we were going to have to outscore them.

"The game kept changing in an instant."

It was a tremendously disappointing loss for Ramona, which had to win two of three from Oceanside to win the Valley League and make the playoffs.

"I'm so proud of my guys for coming back the way they did," said Bulldogs coach Dean Welch. "We didn't get down. I thought we took the mojo back.

"But we made too many mistakes, and they made us pay."

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