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Prep baseball: Mesa Melts, 9-8

April 20, 2002

Steve Virgen

IRVINE - When it happens once, it's unfortunate. Twice? It's

unlucky. Any more than that, it's just sad.

For the Costa Mesa High baseball team, "it" was losing yet another

game when leading after five or more innings. This time, the Pacific

Coast League-leading Northwood Timberwolves scored three runs in the

bottom of the sixth, which included two Costa Mesa errors. And, the host,

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Northwood, won, 9-8, Friday.

The Mustangs' meltdown was so sad, even Northwood Coach Rob Stuart

felt sorry for Costa Mesa. Assuredly, the New York Yankees' Mariano

Rivera, after the 2001 World Series' Game 7, would empathize with the

Mustangs.

"I feel badly for (Costa Mesa Coach) Kirk (Bauermeister),' Stuart

said. "He's a hell of a coach. I really respect what he's done with his

guys and how hard they compete. From an outsider's viewpoint, I feel

badly for them. But as a coach I'm glad we won."

After the game, Bauermeister told his players, "I'm really proud of

you," and then he told the media about the Mustangs' bad luck.

"Out of our nine (PCL) games, we led eight of them going into the

fifth inning," said Bauermeister, whose team is 3-6 in the PCL, 9-11

overall. "I have no idea how to explain it. We have led just about every

game through five innings, and the last couple innings, we get weird

hops, and we get bleeders. We haven't done a good job with the eight and

nine (batters). We walk and hit those guys. But I don't know, I never

seen anything like it. It's the strangest thing I've ever seen ... We

just have to play five-inning games maybe, or something. I feel terrible

for our kids."

Perhaps Mesa's mountaintop-to-valley type of game was the reason

Bauermeister felt terrible.

The Mustangs displayed the essence of teenage years with cheers and

high-fives because of a three-run rally in the fourth inning, that broke

a 2-2 tie. But, in the bottom of the sixth, the Mustangs had looks on

their faces as if to say: Not Again!

"For some reason we can't close it out," Bauermeister said.

With an 8-6 lead and Northwood's No. 7, 8 and 9 batters due up,

Bauermeister went to his senior leader Nick Cabico in the bottom of the

seventh.

"I would have done the same thing," Stuart said.

After a fly-ball first out, Northwood's Dustin Landeis picked up a

base hit on a high chopper toward second base. Cabico walked the next

batter and Ryan Macqueen loaded the bases with a base hit. Then, Cabico

had to face Stanford-bound shortstop Chris Lewis. Cabico had struck out

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