Point Loma's season ends with play-in loss
by SCOTT HOPKINS
Published - 06/06/18 - 08:00 AM | 859 views | 0 0 comments | 19 19 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Pointer baserunner RJ LaRocco is tagged out at second base during a CIF Div. II play-in game against Brawley. The Pointers lost a 3-0 heartbreaker when the Wildcats scored all their runs in the ninth inning. / Photo by Scott Hopkins
Pointer baserunner RJ LaRocco is tagged out at second base during a CIF Div. II play-in game against Brawley. The Pointers lost a 3-0 heartbreaker when the Wildcats scored all their runs in the ninth inning. / Photo by Scott Hopkins
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The thrill of victory, the agony of defeat.

For decades, ABC's “Wide World of Sports” opened with those words and Point Loma's Pointer baseball team experienced that emotional plunge last month. First, winning a league championship with a three-game sweep of La Jolla, and then losing a CIF Div. II play-in game just six days later.

Going into the playoffs, the Pointers (15-13 overall, 8-4 in Eastern League) were seeded No. 9 and Brawley's Wildcats were pegged at No. 8. But since the Pointers were league champions, they were spared the long drive to the Imperial Valley and Brawley came west for the May 22 game at David Wells Field.

The Wildcats, who finished 10-2 for second place in the Imperial Valley League (15-11 overall) seemed tired from their trek to the coast as senior Pointer starting pitcher Mitchell Sardo threw shutout baseball for eight innings, which included the regulation seven inning game plus one extra inning, before he reached the 110-pitch limit imposed upon prep arms.

Sardo yielded only three hits, issued two walks, and struck out seven while facing 28 batters.

Unfortunately for the Pointers, their nine-hits were all singles and did not score a run despite having a bases loaded, no out situation at one point.

Freshman Duce Gourson, seniors A.J. Schrader and Jared Bacon each had two hits. Single hits were by Sardo and sophomores Hunter Otjen and RJ LaRocco.

Faced with the necessity to replace Sardo for the ninth inning, Schrader was summoned. After throwing 17 pitches to five hitters, he had two outs, but had walked the bases full before being replaced.

Enter senior Dylan Vaughn, and on his first pitch, Wildcat junior Kristian Garcia, a .219 hitter, drilled a long hit into the outfield gap. All three runners scored for the only runs of the game as Garcia stood at second with a double.

The next batter also got a hit, however Garcia was thrown out at the plate to end the inning.   

When the Pointers were unable to muster a run in their half of the ninth, the game, and season suddenly came to a stunning and emotional end for the 12 seniors and 10 underclassmen, who had dreams of going deep into the playoffs and improving on last year's four games played before being eliminated.
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