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Segerstrom scores in 7th to beat Santiago
SANTA ANA - The team that makes the fewest mistakes wins in just about every game in every sport.
It is perhaps most evident in high school baseball playoffs.
Segerstrom took advantage of the opponent’s mishaps at the most crucial time to do so, scoring in the bottom of the seventh inning to beat Santiago, 2-1, on Tuesday in a CIF-Southern Section Division 3 wild card playoff game at Segerstrom.
The Jaguars (15-11) will play at Beckman (17-9) in a first-round game Thursday. Segerstrom finished third in the six-team Golden West League to qualify for the playoffs. Beckman is Pacific Coast League champion.
Santiago, which finished third in the Garden Grove League, finished at 11-10.
Segerstrom scored in the first inning to take a 1-0 lead. Santiago tied it with a run in the second. The game stayed 1-1 until the seventh inning.
Javier Rosales led off the seventh with a walk. He went to second base on a balk. Aaron Mendez’s sacrifice bunt, the inning’s first out, advanced Rosales to third base.
Santiago intentionally walked the next two batters, Miguel Sanchez and Anthony Martinez, to load the bases so force plays would be available at every base and to create a double-play opportunity.
The next Segerstrom batter, Jacob Higareda, hit a ground ball up the middle. Santiago got Martinez out at second but the throw to first base was low. Cavaliers first baseman Alberto Orozco made a great effort to snag the ball but could not hold on, making Higareda safe at first as Rosales crossed the plate with the game-ending run.
Higareda said his plan was to hit the ball up the middle or into the outfield.
“I was just running as hard I could, trying to beat the throw,” said Higareda, the probable starting pitcher Thursday.
Segerstrom junior Jimmy Martinez pitched a complete game. He allowed five hits and walked two with one strikeout.
“Jimmy’s very composed,” said Segerstrom coach Erasmo Ramirez, himself an All-County pitcher in his high school days at Saddleback who pitched MLB ball, too. “He really knows what he’s doing out there.”
Santiago loaded the bases in the top of the seventh. The threat ended when Segerstrom shortstop Adam Serrano fielded a ground ball to his left and tossed to second baseman Nathan Ortiz for a force out, the third out, at second base.
Jarron Peralta pitched well for Santiago. Neither Segerstrom run was earned. Peralta allowed six hits with three walks, a hit batsman and four strikeouts before being replaced after he walked Rosales in the seventh. Richard Aviles took the mound for the Mendez bunt, the two intentional walks and Higareda’s ground ball.
“It came down to who makes the mistake at the crucial time,” Ramirez said. “Santiago loaded the bases, too, but we were able to get out of that inning.”
To beat Beckman, Ramirez said, Segerstrom is going to have to group hits together. That’s been a challenge for the Jaguars. They left 10 runners on base Tuesday.
“It’s been like this the whole season,” Ramirez said. “We’ve been doing a good job pitching and a good job defensively. We’ve struggled getting runners across the plate.”
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