Seventh-inning rally knocks out Trabuco Hills


MISSION VIEJO - When Redlands East Valley baseball coach James Cordes was asked why, in the biggest moment of the Wildcats’ season, he turned to freshman Kaden Hopson, Cordes smiled like a man with all the answers.

“Sometimes you just got to let someone try and be a hero,” said Cordes.

Hopson proved to be just that, as the freshman kept Redlands East Valley’s season alive, getting the tying hit in the seventh inning, and the Wildcats went on to rally for a 5-4 victory over Trabuco Hills on Thursday in the opening round of the CIF-SS Division 2 playoffs.

With two outs, Hopson hit a shallow single that dropped perfectly in the outfield, just past first base, to score the tying run and bring the Wildcats back from a 4-2 deficit. Junior Keller Raborn then brought home the go-ahead run with a chopper to the middle infield.

It all the came after a costly mistake, with Hopson missing a bunt and the Wildcats’ pinch-runner misreading the play and getting tagged by the catcher for the second out.

“Everything that happened in the top of the seventh inning, none of it really made sense,” said Cordes. “We were lined up to lose that game.”

Asked to recall his pivotal at-bat, Hopson said, “I was just looking for an opportunity to be clutch for my team, and I was fortunate to do so. When I saw that ball get down it was probably the happiest moment of my life.”

Joe Rodriguez set up Hopson’s heroics with an RBI single to cut the lead to one.

REV (20-7) will be host to No. 2 seed Gahr of Cerritos on Tuesday in the second round.

The Wildcats twice had the bases loaded only to come away empty, the first time having a runner tagged out at the plate before hitting into a double play.

Trabuco Hills (16-14) finally got on the scoreboard in the fifth inning, striking for four runs by capitalizing on four hits and the Wildcats’ only error.

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