Bulldogs walk off in DFAL opener win over Mats

Alhambra senior Zach Elliott slides past the Miramonte catcher to score the winning run in the Bulldogs’ 3-2 win in 13 innings in the league opener on Wednesday, March 30, 2016. Elliott was driven in on a sacrifice fly by sophomore Trent Greene. (MARK FIERNER / Martinez Tribune)
Alhambra senior Zach Elliott slides past the Miramonte catcher to score the winning run in the Bulldogs’ 3-2 win in 13 innings in the league opener on Wednesday, March 30, 2016. Elliott was driven in on a sacrifice fly by sophomore Trent Greene. (MARK FIERNER / Martinez Tribune)

By GERARDO RECINOS
Martinez Tribune

It’s tough to say that in a game that ended more than three hours after the first pitch was thrown, the most defining moment happened about an hour and 40 minutes earlier.

But down 2-0, with a pair of runners in scoring position, a bunted ball was thrown into the back of the base runner. In that moment the Miramonte runner would’ve taken the bruise for the run. After the umpire ruled interference, he wouldn’t have taken it for $20.

That call allowed Alhambra to eventually win the game 3-2 on a walk off sacrifice fly by sophomore Trent Greene, but that was six innings later.

“So far this year he’s been up and down, and we’ve been telling him to keep working,” King said of Greene. “His approach the plate is much more confident.”

In the seventh inning the Bulldogs rallied around their pitcher, Jordyn Eglite, and made sure they wouldn’t make him the victim of another scoreless loss for a Bulldog pitcher.

It would have been unfair for Eglite to have been handed the loss, he threw five frames of lights out ball. He struck out six, and only one of the five base runners he allowed scored.

The only hit of the day for Miramonte off Eglite was an RBI double in the second inning off the bat of Daniel Huston.

To his credit, Miramonte’s Tim Tague was even better. He was perfect his first time through the lineup, and had only allowed a single hit before the bottom of the seventh inning.

The second hit he allowed (an opposite field single to Josh Abraham) knocked him out of the game.

Reliever Zach Wong couldn’t get out of the jam though.

Greene singled in the first run on a single back up the middle, and then Tyler Peters came to hit.

Peters, who was injured in the game against Benicia, was up there feeling well enough to swing, but even if he couldn’t get the bat around, his presence at the plate did the job. Wong skipped his third pitch in the dirt allowing Abraham to score.

When asked after the game if Peters was actually allowed to swing the bat at the plate, King said, “he had the green light. He felt good enough to swing.”

With Cole Gifford adding to his pedigree out of the bullpen with five innings of shutout work, King handed the ball to the guy the call “Big Baby.”

Brett Sterrer threw three innings at the weekend against Benicia in relief of the injured Peters, but was even more lights out on Wednesday, retiring all nine hitters he faced in order.

His performance on the mound allowed the Bulldogs to mount a pair of rallies that were killed off agonizingly with a strike out in the 11th, and a ground out in the 12th.

But in the 13th, the Bulldogs capitalized.

In baseball there is a saying. “After the error comes the hit.”

Senior Zach Elliott didn’t set the world on fire on Wednesday, but when it came down to it, he put the bat on the ball and made the defense make a play.

When they didn’t he made them pay. Matt Beck bunted Elliott over, and Abraham moved him over to third on a fielder’s choice.

Wong tried to cut down Beck at third but the throw to third was too late to get Beck.

The Matadors elected not to pitch to Eglite in the 13th, even though the first baseman was 0-for-5 with a strike out. They elected to pitch to Greene.

The sophomore infielder was 2-for-4 with a pair of singles and an RBI at that point.

After a day of waiting a long time for a finish, Greene didn’t waste time. The second pitch was deep enough to score Elliott and end the game.

“Our hitters knew, especially late in the game, they knew they had to step up, because out pitchers had been doing their jobs,” King said. “They rallied together and the guys went out there and scrapped one out. They knew what time it was, Division III opponent. That’s a key game.

“They just stuck with it. They started out a little flat, then they woke up,” he said.

About Gerardo Recinos

Gerardo Recinos is a journalist currently living in Concord, Calif. He is a recent graduate of San Francisco State University, with a degree in Journalism (History minor). Gerardo covers sports throughout Martinez and Pleasant Hill. It's his lifelong mission to get people in the U.S. to stop calling football "soccer," and to call American football "handegg."

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