Baseball: San Fernando wins on eighth-inning squeeze bunt
It's the bottom of the eighth inning of a 0-0 tie. San Fernando has the bases loaded with one out against rival Granada Hills Kennedy on Thursday. Up to the plate comes William Vazquez, the reigning City Section player of the year.
San Fernando Coach Armando Gomez signals for the squeeze bunt, and Vazquez delivers, giving the Tigers a 1-0 victory over Kennedy and a two-game lead in the Valley Mission League.
San Fernando (24-4, 10-0) won the game because of its outstanding defense. From the start to the finish, the Tigers were turning plays, routine and hard ones. Sophomore center fielder Carlos Robles made a terrific diving catch to set up a double play in the sixth. Vazquez was magnificent playing third base.
All the defense supported pitcher Kevin Martinez, who went the distance, allowing four hits while walking three and hitting three.
Kennedy's Moises Ceja matched Martinez with seven shutout innings until the eighth, when Isaac Dominguez hit the ball over the head of center fielder David Negrete for a double. After an intentional walk, Robles flied out and Martinez loaded the bases with an infield single, setting the stage for the game-ending squeeze.
It was a tough week for Kennedy (14-8, 8-2), which was swept by the Tigers despite strong pitching performances from Ceja and Pablo Gonzalez. But right now, San Fernando, the defending City champion, is in good position to get the No. 1 seed for the Division I playoffs based on its strong defense, solid pitching and experience of winning last season at Dodger Stadium.
-- Eric Sondheimer