Roundup: Foothill wins 11-inning battle with San Juan Hills
Evan Mickelson’s drive off of the top of the right-field fence drove in the winning run for Foothill in the bottom of the 11th inning as the Knights defeated San Juan Hills, 4-3, in a CIF-Southern Section Division 2 first-round playoff game at Foothill.
The Knights (23-7) will play at home against Carter of Rialto in the second round Tuesday. Carter beat Foothill last year in a first-round game at Foothill.
San Juan Hills, which beat San Clemente twice last week to take the Sea View League’s third and final playoff berth, finished 16-13.
Mickelson’s two-out shot drove in Jacob Mazur, who had singled, from first base.
The uniqueness of Foothill’s baseball field has influenced the outcome of games before. It did so again Thursday.
The Foothill outfield has a hill, sloping upwards to the fence, in center and right field. It’s called “The Sedoo Slope,” named for former Foothill coach Gerry Sedoo.
San Juan Hills right fielder Cameron Fliege ran up the hill after Mickelson’s hit which missed being a home run by about a half-foot. After the ball struck the top of the fence, it began rolling down hill. Fliege raced back down hill to retrieve it but had no chance to throw out Manzur who, with two outs, was running on contact.
It was a 1-2 pitch, a changeup at the lower inside corner of the strike zone to the left-handed hitting Mickelson.
“I just tried to throw the hands at it,” Mickelson said, “and good things happened.”
Some bad things happened for both teams Thursday. San Juan Hills made three errors; Foothill made two.
The pitching, though, was sensational. Foothill starter Dillon Brown (10-1) pitched eight innings, allowing two earned runs and five hits with five strikeouts. San Juan Hills starter Nick Hernadez (7-3) went six innings, gave up two earned runs and four hits and had seven strikeouts.
Mickelson’s fifth-inning sacrifice fly gave Foothill a 1-0 lead. San Juan Hills took a 2-1 lead in the sixth on Connor Glenn’s two-run double. Foothill tied it, 2-2, in its half of the sixth on Brown’s run-scoring single.
The Stallions regained the lead, 3-2, in the seventh inning with the assistance of the two Foothill errors. The Knights tied it in the bottom of the inning on Matt O’Donoghue’s two-out single that drove in Preston Moebius.
San Juan Hills had a runner on second base in the ninth inning and runners on second and third in the 10th. Mickelson ended the game with his RBI double in the 11th.
Foothill coach Vince Brown, Dillon Brown’s father, was relieved that the Knights had survived a few mistakes.
“We were looking for different ways to lose this game,” Brown said. “The pitchers did a great job of keeping us close, and then we finally found somebody to make the big hit and win the game for us.”
Also in Division 2:
Mission Viejo 4, Downey 3: Zach Sanchez’ sacrifice fly in the bottom of the 10th inning drove in the winning run for the fourth-seeded Diablos (21-10). Reliever Joey Garman pitched 31/3 scoreless innings.
Villa Park 8, Bonita of La Verne 1: Alex Sosnowski homered and drove in four runs, and Cole Wiens pitched six shutout innings as the visiting Spartans (15-14) upset third-seeded Bonita.
In Division 4:
Laguna Beach 4, Savanna 2: Zak Kovacic had two hits and two RBI for the host Breakers (17-10), who play at Patriot of Jurupa Valley in the second round Tuesday. Patriot beat top-seeded Don Lugo of Chino on Thursday.
Century 9, Troy 0: David Hernandez pitched a five-hit shutout as the visiting Centurions (20-8) beat the Freeway League champions. Michael Foseca, Abraham Carrillo and Nelson Guzman had two hits apiece.
In Division 6:
Crean Luthean 15, Chadwick of Palos Verdes Peninsula 0: Will Tomlinson pitched a no-hitter for the second-seeded Saints (20-7). He had 13 strikeouts. Ryan Gaynor was 3 for 3 with a double and two RBIs and Will Choi was 2 for 2 with two doubles and four RBIs.
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