Lancaster 9 @ High Desert 8 in 11 innings
The JetHawks used a furious ninth inning rally to tie, and then got clutch
hitting in the 11th inning to win the third and deciding game of their
mini-series with the High Desert Mavericks Friday.
In the top of the first the JetHawks got on the board after a wild pitch
allowed Steve Garrabrants to score. The JetHawks were up 1-0 with Garrett Mock heading to the hill.
Mock, who was 14-7 and went at least five innings in all but two of his 28
starts during the regular season is typically considered the JetHawks staff ace,
and giving him an early lead had to put the squad in good spirits, but those
wouldn't last long.
Garrett Mock was rocked for five first inning runs, quickly putting the
JetHawks in a hole and sending manager Bill Plummer into his bullpen early.
Mock gave up hits to the first four hitters he faced, and the damage could have
been much worse, but the JetHawks caught a break, recording the third out of the
inning at third base after Edgar Varela cut off a throw headed for home and
caught a High Desert baserunner too far off third base.
After the five run first Plummer send Mock back to the bump in the second,
but his time there would be short. After getting the lead off man on a fly
out, Mock would give up two singles, two doubles and a walk before Plummer would
make the call. Jon Castellanos made 28 appearances this season, all of
them as a starter, but Plummer knew he needed someone to chew innings, and
Castellanos was his man. He immediately induced a double play to end the
second inning, and went on to change the entire complexion of the game, going
5.2 innings, allowing just two hits and one earned run. His relief effort
kept the JetHawks, who were in danger of getting run off the field in the second
inning, in the game.
The JetHawks would pick up their second run of the game in similar fashion to
the first, as Erik Schindewolf scampered home after a passed ball. The
offense, which had been so strong during the season, had managed two runs, both
on balls getting past the catcher. In the sixth inning Lancaster would
finally manufacture a run without the High Desert backstop's help, as Jay
Garthwaite's single would drive home Alex Frazier, who had doubled to start the
inning. Suddenly after six innings, without much offense, the JetHawks
found themselves down only four.
In the bottom of the seventh High Desert would add to their lead as first
baseman Chris Lubanski hit his third homer of the series to make the lead 8-3.
In the top of the eighth the JetHawks would take advantage of catching problems
again, as Jeff Cook singled, took second on a wild pitch, advanced to third on a
fly out, and then scored on a fielder's choice, but even after Alex Cremidan
came on for Castellanos and pitched around two hits to post a scoreless eighth,
the JetHawks came into the top of the ninth down by three, knowing this could be
the final inning of their season.
Apparently they weren't finished.
Shortstop Danny Richar led off the inning with a triple, followed by a double
from catcher Phil Avlas. Schindewolf singled to drive Avlas home and
suddenly the tying run was at the plate with no outs. The Mavericks went
to the pen, bringing on righty Gabe DeHoyos to face lead off hitter Garrabrants.
Garrabrants was already 2-4 on the day, walking once and scoring a run, when he
turned on a DeHoyos offering that just cleared the left center field wall and
tied the game. Though DeHoyos would retire the next three hitters, the
JetHawks rally had tied the score, and after Dustin Glant gave up a lead off
single in the bottom half he would get the next three outs and send the game to
High Desert hurler Eric Ackerman would strike out the side in the top of the
10th inning, but in the bottom Glant would again give up one hit, but no runs,
sending it to the 11th. Avlas caught the Mavericks by surprise, dropping
down a bunt single to lead off the inning, but when Schindewolf attempted to
sacrifice Avlas to second, the Mavericks pounced, getting Avlas on the force
play. Once again Garrabrants came up in the clutchest of situations, but
this time he would go down swinging, leaving the lead run on first with two out.
Perez would single, sending Schindewolf all the way to third, and bringing right
fielder Jeff Cook to the plate with the lead run on third and two down.
Of the JetHawks on the playoff roster, Cook has had the best season by far.
During the first half he was up and down, splitting time in the outfield with
several players and never really finding his groove, but after Chris Carter,
Stephen Drew, and Miguel Montero were promoted, and Jon Kaplan was traded, Cook
became the regular right fielder and turned it on. Still, he had struggled
in this series, and came into his 11th inning at bat just 2-12 in the series.
Nobody cares about that anymore.
Cook singled to right, scoring Schindewolf and giving the JetHawks their
first lead of the day. Closer Matt Wilkinson came on in the ninth with one
last hurdle to climb. Chris Lubanski had already hit one homer on the day,
but he hit two in Thursday's Mavericks win, and the JetHawks weren't about to
give him the opportunity to do it again. Wilkinson 'unintentionally
intentionally' walked Lubanski, but when the next hitter, Kila Kaaihue singled
it put the tying run in scoring position. Wilkinson hunkered down and did
what closers do in a tight spot, he struck the next hitter out, and then got the
final out of the game on a force out at second. The JetHawks advance to
the next round, with one big question remaining.
Who's the starter in game one on Saturday?
Castellanos was scheduled, but after 5.2 innings of incredible ball on
Friday, he won't be able to pitch until at least Tuesday. While Sam Smith
spent time in the rotation, and Jesus Silva made spot starts now and again, it
appears the ball will be handed to Chad Scarberry in Game One Saturday against
rival Lake Elsinore. Scarberry had struggled this season, going 5-6 with a
6.14 ERA as a starter, and in his two starts this season against Lake Elsinore,
he's fared even worse. On July 7th Scarberry went five innings, allowing
six hits and five earned runs against the Storm, and August 8th he lasted only
four innings, allowing 10 hits and six earned. Amazingly though the
bullpen will be relatively fresh even after their starter was knocked out in the
second inning of an 11 inning game Friday, thanks to Castellanos, who did more
than stop the bleeding, he actually gave the JetHawks an infusion with his