East Union coach Dan Triglia saved the best for last on Monday.
With the score tied against visiting Kimball in the bottom of the seventh, Triglia brought in Brandon Ridgewell as a two-out pinch hitter. Facing an 0-2 count, the Lancers junior hit a towering fly ball down the right-field line that landed just inside the Agostini Field foul line scoring Lucas Garcia from second for the thrilling 4-3 East Union win in Valley Oak League action.
“It was just a hunch,” Lancers coach Dan Triglia said of his decision to pinch-hit Ridgewell. “He has been hitting the ball pretty well lately so I gave him the opportunity and he came through.
“He did a good job of going with the pitch and taking it to right field.”
Ridgewell was not sure if his game winner was fair or foul.
“I was pretty nervous,” Ridgewell said. “I just wanted to get a hit. I figured I would crowd the plate and do what I could do.
“I just started running and I hoped it was fair.”
Alert base running put Garcia in position to score on Ridgewell’s double. Garcia reached on a fielder’s choice by heating out a double-play attempt and then advanced to second when the Jaguars catcher could not locate a passed ball.
“I was waiting for a dirty ball trying to get to the next bag,” Garcia said. “I was just being aggressive.”
East Union (8-5 VOL, 14-10 overall) made the game much closer than it needed to be, stranding 12 runners.
“We have been dealing with leaving too many guys on base all year,” Triglia said. “We had bases loaded more than once and didn’t get anything out of those situations. We have to come up bigger in those situations and not make it so hard on ourselves in the end.”
The third was the big inning for the Lancers. Jordan Kron (2 for 3, double), Jake Danhoff (2 for 3) and Brennan Koeller singled to start the frame for East Union and the three came in to score on RBI singles by Andrew Ruiz (2 for 4) and Jesus Esquivel and a sacrifice fly by Ruiz.
The win leaves the Lancers and Kimball (8-5, 18-6) tied for fourth with the league wrapping up play today. Sierra and Manteca are tied for second with 9-4 league records and play each other today as do East Union and the Jaguars. The top three teams will advance to the playoffs.
East Union 6, Kimball 0
Kyle Emerson went the distance for the Lancers, striking out nine and allowing two hits. Teammate Mario Gonzalez was 2 for 4 with two RBIs.