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Eagles fall to Jaguars in tourney final

High School Baseball

Estancia nearly rallies, but settles for runner-up finish in Costa Mesa Division of Newport Elks tourney.

March 09, 2012|By David Carrillo PeƱaloza
(Don Leach / Daily…)

COSTA MESA — Ninety feet is how far the Estancia High baseball team was from tying the game in the bottom of the seventh inning. The go-ahead run was leaning off first base.

The players knew what was at stake at home against Segerstrom on Friday, the Costa Mesa Division title of the Newport Elks Tournament. If those two runners score, the Eagles win their first Newport Elks Tournament crown in the program's history.

The players had no idea they could make history, because Estancia Coach Nate Goellrich said he doesn't bring up that sort of stuff.

He didn't have to when it was over. The Jaguars defended a first-and-third situation perfectly to secure a 3-2 win.

Coach Erasmo Ramirez said he was glad he worked on similar scenarios with his team for three days before the tournament began. The Jaguars didn't panic when it was a live situation with the game on the line.

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Goellrich hoped they would.

With two outs and two strikes on the No. 9 hitter, Goellrich called for a running play. The runner took off for second base, hoping to catch the Jaguars sleeping on defense and force them into a miscue.

Neither of the two happened.

Starter Matt Martinez threw the ball to second. The runner retreated to first, only to be tagged out from behind. The runner on third never attempted to go home during the run down at first, and that was by design.

The runner at third stayed motionless, as did the rest of his teammates.

The Eagles couldn't believe their late-inning rally ended. They came so close to claiming the championship.

"We were waiting for one more throw," said Goellrich, who knew his team was in trouble when the infielder held onto the ball and chased after the runner.

The Jaguars soon rushed each other to celebrate going 5-0 in the tournament. Estancia was trying to close out the tournament with that record.

Three baserunning mistakes hurt the Eagles (4-1), as did an error with two outs in the fifth inning.

The error allowed the Jaguars to break a 1-1 tie in the fifth. They appeared to be on their way to loading the bases with two outs with an infield single by Anthony Lopez.

Shortstop Tyler Rios fielded the slow grounder, before faking the throw to first and firing to third to get the runner leaning. The throw went wide, allowing Segerstrom to bring home two runs, the second because a runner is awarded two bases when the ball goes out of play.

The Jaguars led, 3-1, and were back on top. That seemed enough run support for Martinez to improve to 2-0.

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