Raiders overcome early mistakes to get past La Canada in CIF playoffs

By Jeremiah Girard
La Habra Journal

SHS_BGHS Baseball__078The Sonora Raiders advanced to the third round of the CIF Baseball Playoffs, with an 8-5 victory over the La Canada High Spartans, Tuesday, at Sonora.

The Raiders struggled early with six errors, which accounted for four unearned runs. However, the Spartans added five errors of their own.

“When you play the way we did, especially in the playoffs, you don’t usually move on,” said Sonora manager, Pat Tellers, “We are glad to be moving on.”

Sonora (22-7, 14-1) was down 4-2 heading into the fifth inning with all the momentum in the Spartans favor.

At the end of the fourth, the Spartans had a 3-2 lead. Brandon Chandler hit a sacrifice fly to left, which brought in Brandon Mataisz to tie the game. However, the umpire said Mataisz left early, and he was called out and the run was taken off the board.
However, the Raiders changed the momentum quickly and put up six runs in the inning to take an 8-4 lead.

The inning started with Gavin Blodgett getting hit by a pitch. Henry Bustamante, the next batter, poked a double into the gap in right center field, which scored Blodgett all the way from first. Bustamante went 2-3 with a sacrifice fly and two RBI.

“The past two games I have been swinging the bat really well,” Bustamante said. “I have just been trying to go opposite field more and both of my hits went there today.”

Brett Phillips came in to pinch run for Bustamante, who has been nursing a hamstring injury, and came around to score on a single by Jake Rosander.

With the game tied at 4-4, Mataisz came up with runners on second and third and one out.

He singled to left field to give the Raiders the lead, 5-4. The left fielder came up throwing home and Mataisz took second base on the throw. Mataisz also picked up the win after going three and two-thirds innings in relief.

“It felt really good to come through for the team today,” Mataisz said. “Especially because today could have possibly been my last game.”
AJ Oviedo then stepped up and poked a sacrifice fly to left field to score Josh Choice and give Sonora a 6-4 lead. The sacrifice fly would prove to be the game-winning hit.

Andrew Piraino then singled to drive in Mataisz, and then an error on the Spartan’s second baseman scored Ray Saucedo, who pinch ran for Piraino, and expanded the lead to 8-4.

Piraino was the starting pitcher in the game, but only went three innings, while giving up four unearned runs. He did not find out he was pitching until last night.

“Evan Sonny is in the hospital,” Tellers said. “He was supposed to pitch today, but he has some sort of bacterial infection. So, last night was kind of a quick decision.”

Mataisz came in and was very solid in relief, but found himself in a jam in the top of the seventh. He got the first two guys out, and then gave up three singles in a row, and one run.

Tellers called for JonPaul Sarro, who had never come out of the bullpen in a varsity game, to come in with the tying run at the plate.
Sarro only faced one batter and struck him out to pick up his first varsity save. Sarro was scheduled to pitch in the next round, and Tellers does not intend to change his plan.

“He will get the ball,” Tellers said. “That was a little bit of a tune-up there. I was very impressed with his velocity today.”
“I feel pretty good,” Sarro added. “I am just going to go out there and do what I did all year.”
The Raiders will travel to take on San Dimas on Friday.

Started in 1995, the La Habra Journal is an independent community news source serving the cities of La Habra and La Habra Heights.