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TIM BURT PHOTO
Beckman starter Adam Lamar throws a pitch during Thursday's playoff game with Segerstrom.

Beckman fends off challenge from Segerstrom

Staff Writer

IRVINE - There were lots of great catches, close plays and line drives, and even a disputed call through the first 9 2/3 innings of a CIF-SS Division 3 first-round baseball playoff between Segerstrom and Beckman on Thursday.

But after all that, it was a bad-hop single that ended the thrilling playoff game.

Beckman’s No. 9 hitter, Willie Lajoie, batting with the bases loaded and two outs in the bottom of the 10th inning, reached when the hard hit ball took a high hop over first base for a base hit, lifting the Patriots to a 4-3 victory at Beckman.

Beckman (18-9) advances to the second round Tuesday against Quartz Hill.

Upset-minded Segerstrom (15-11) out-hit the Pacific Coast League champions, 10-7. But Jaguars pitchers walked 12, including four in the sixth when Beckman pushed across the tying run to make it 3-3 and send the game into extra innings.

“I didn’t expect that was going to happen,” said Lajoie, recalling his biggest hit as a Patriot. “I was trying to battle and put it in play.”

Beckman got outstanding performances on the mound from starter Adam Lamar, who pitched the first nine innings, and Jack Wiese, who came on in the 10th to get the victory. Wiese improved his record to 3-3.

Segerstrom also got a solid performance on the mound from starter Jacob Higareda, who allowed three runs before giving way to Christian Prado in the sixth inning. Johnny Soto came on to pitch in the eighth inning.

The Jaguars had two runners on in the eighth inning but couldn’t score.

In the bottom of the 10th inning, Isaiah Bull singled to lead off the inning and stole second. Chase Ellett was walked intentionally. After a fly out, the runners advanced to second and third. Sam Harline was walked intentionally to load the bases, setting up the single by Lajoie.

“That’s a hard pill to swallow either way,” said Beckman coach Kevin Lavalle. “I told my guys after the game, 'we didn’t do anything wrong.' Sometimes you play games and you hit balls right at people. Their center fielder (Ruben Medina) really made about three game-saving plays.

“I’m proud of everybody. I’m proud of Willie. All he did was put the ball in play.”

Beckman had a golden opportunity to score in the bottom of the ninth inning when it loaded the bases with one out. Tyler Geurts hit a line drive near third base. The umpire ruled that third baseman Miguel Sanchez caught the ball on the fly and doubled up the runner at third by diving toward the base.

Lavalle protested the call, but the play stood and the game moved onto the 10th.

“I’m 100 percent certain he trapped the ball, but it’s still a great play and the game doesn’t end there,” Lavalle said.

Segerstrom coach Erasmo Ramirez said he was sure Sanchez caught the ball before it hit the ground.

“It was in his glove, it was a line drive,” Ramirez said.

The Jaguars gave the Patriots a scare when they moved ahead, 3-2, in the fifth inning. Javier Rosales walked, went to second on a ground out and scored on a RBI single by Sanchez to make it 3-2.

But Beckman was able to push across the tying run in the sixth on a bases loaded walk to Jake Groves.

“I’m extremely proud of our guys,” said Ramirez. “They exceeded anything that we were looking for. They played a tremendous game. It’s unfortunate it ended the way it did.”

Contact the writer: tburt@ocregister.com


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