The Wild card round of the 2017 CIF Southern Section Division 2 Baseball Playoffs were mixed with emotions for two of the local Southwestern league teams in the postseason hunt.
After a nine year drought, the Chaparral Pumas of the Southwestern League took the field in the post season and went back and forth on their home fields against the Valley View Eagles in the wild card round of the CIF Southern Section Division 3 playoffs. Chaparral took an early lead in the first inning off a Hayden Johns’ sacrifice fly that scored one run for Chaparral when Christian Bubion scored. In the top of the third inning, the Valley View Eagles tied things off a Daniel Crofton home run.
The game stayed tied at one when Chaparral, batting in the bottom of the fifth, scored another run, plating Bubion again in the game, this time off an Eagles error, putting the Pumas up 2-1.
With the score 2-1, and with two outs and the tying run in scoring position, the Pumas executed a trick play to get out of the inning that would make any college scout smirk. Pitcher, Matt Happ, faked an attempted pickoff throw to second base as Bubion (second baseman) jumped and acted like the ball went to the outfield. The runner on second took off to third and Happ took the ball out of his glove and chased him down and with the quick toss of the ball to David Blansett at third base, the Puma’s won their first post season game in nine years.
The pitching was strong on both sides. Senior hurler Jesse Morales earned the win for Chaparral. He tossed five innings, gave up one run, three hits, struck out three and walked one. Happ recorded the last six outs to earn the save for Chaparral. Happ had 2 hits and Martin Hernandez, Cole Saenz, Justin Zapata and Bubion each had a hit apiece for Chaparral.
Seth Spencer took the loss for Valley View Eagles. He pitched five innings, surrendered two runs, three hits and struck out nine. Crofton led Valley View with two hits in two at bats.
With the win Chaparral moved on to the first round of the CIF-SS Baseball playoffs in Anaheim Thursday to play the Canyon Comanche’s, who are 20-8 overall and are the North Hills league Champions.
Unfortunately for the other team fighting to get through the wild card round of the playoffs, out of the Southwestern league, Martin Luther King jumped all over Murrieta Valley Wednesday and eliminated the Nighthawks with a 10-0 victory.