Paloma Valley set to face the Rams in finale for second straight year.
MENIFEE – The Murrieta Mesa Rams baseball team continued their preseason winning ways against the Heritage Patriots in the semifinal game of the I.E. Classic Tournament Tuesday, Feb. 25. The visiting Rams ran off with the lead in extra innings, claiming a 3-2 victory over Heritage when all was said and done. The game was tied at 2 runs apiece with Murrieta Mesa batting in the top of the eighth. That’s when an error scored one run for the Rams, putting them in the lead with a half inning to go.
The pitching was strong on both sides as pitchers for the Rams struck out eight, while Heritage pitchers sat down two. Murrieta Mesa (6-0) got things started in the first inning when catcher Makana Olaso grounded out but scored a run. The game was a 1-run showdown as junior two-way starter, Jhayden Raineri, showcased his stamina on the bump by keeping the Heritage hitters off balanced into the sixth inning. Heritage (2-4) tied things up that same inning when Gabe Kristall singled on a misread fly ball to right field, scoring one run.
Junior reliever and designated hitter in the game, Caden Byers, was credited with the victory for the Rams, allowing two hits and zero runs over two and a third innings, striking out two and walking zero. Paul Pardo took the loss for Heritage Patriots. He allowed one hit and one run over two innings, striking out two and walking zero.
Raineri started on the bump for Murrieta Mesa. He lasted five and two-thirds innings, allowing five hits and two runs while striking out six. Oscar Ortiz started the game for Heritage, allowing five hits and two runs over four innings. Murrieta Mesa collected six hits in the game. Carter Garate and Olaso gathered two hits each to lead the Rams. Kenny Teter went 2-for-4 at the plate to lead the Heritage Patriots in hits.
The Championship game of the I.E. Classic will take place between both the undefeated Murrieta Mesa Rams and the undefeated Paloma Valley Wildcats (4-0), for the second straight year. Paloma Valley, who won 6-2 in last year’s championship game, defeated Tahquitz 9-0 to get to this year’s final match-up. The championship game of the 2020 I.E. Classic will take place under the lights Friday, Feb. 28, at Elsinore High School. Game time is set for 6 p.m.
*Stats provided by MaxPreps and Game Changer.
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