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Sage just shy against tourney favorite, 5-4

BASEBALL: Lightning nearly pull off shocker against Saddleback Valley Christian in opener of the Sage Hill Classic.

April 06, 2007|By David Carrillo Peñaloza

NEWPORT COAST — With Sage Hill School already down three runs, reliever Brendan Chambers tried to deliver the knockout and close out the game.

Three fastballs definitely knocked batters off the plate, as the Saddleback Valley Christian right-hander plunked three batters in the top of the seventh inning.

Before Chambers hit his third batter and loaded the bases, Coach Jim Romero walked to the mound.

Romero asked his junior, "What are you doing to us?"

"I'm just making it interesting," Chambers told Romero.

Chambers definitely did. He allowed two runs before striking out his second batter of the inning, picking up the save and getting out of a mess, as the Warriors held on for a 5-4 victory in the Sage Hill Classic opener Thursday.

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"He got into a little trouble there," said Romero of Chambers, who in 1 2/3 innings struck out three batters, walked one and allowed no hits. "But he came out and basically shut down the door when he had to."

Chambers has come through often for the Warriors (10-1), ranked No. 2 in CIF Southern Section Division VII.

Mostly as a starter, as Chambers is 5-0, but he helped starter Andrew Haro (4-0) remain unbeaten as well as Saddleback Valley Christian in its last seven games.

The defending section champ from San Juan Capistrano is the favorite to win the three-day, four-team tournament.

Romero said it's been three years since the last time his team played in the tournament, which this year features two other competitive clubs in Capistrano Valley Christian, the Academy League leader, and Windward of Los Angeles, ranked seventh in Division VI.

Facing quality teams Coach Mark Talmo said will only make the young Lightning (4-6) better when they resume Academy League play on April 10.

"Playing some better ball now. We haven't been making so many errors," said the first-year Lightning coach, who saw his team commit two errors Thursday. "Just making nervous errors. We're kind of getting the bugs out. Right now we're just starting to come into our own.

"We're going to be really looking good for the stretch run."

For that to transpire the Lightning, who are in third place in league at 3-3, will need to start winning. They've dropped five of their last six games, allowing eight or more runs in four of those games.

Starter Mason Sayer (0-1) kept the hot-hitting Warriors, who came into Thursday averaging 13 runs per game, at bay for four innings. He allowed two earned runs and seven hits before reliever Travis Duncan entered in the fifth.

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