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CIF baseball: Hart’s slide, season end

Indians take lead into sixth, but fall to Simi Valley

Posted: May 16, 2012 1:55 a.m.
Updated: May 16, 2012 1:55 a.m.
 

Hart was four outs away from moving on in the CIF-Southern Section Division I baseball playoffs.

Then, things fell apart.

Simi Valley scored five times in the bottom of the sixth and beat the Indians 7-4 on Tuesday in the CIF-SS Div. I wild-card round in Simi Valley.

“Things imploded on us, and we couldn’t get that third out, and they came back to get us,” said Hart head coach Jim Ozella. “I thought we competed. I thought we were right there. We were in a situation to win in the sixth, and we just didn’t make the big pitches and plays we needed to.”

Thanks in part to Jesse Posey’s solid start, Hart led 3-2 with two outs in the sixth and a runner at first base. Josh Bendig relieved Posey and faced four batters, three of whom walked while the other reached base on an error as Simi Valley (18-10) took a 4-3 lead.

Zach Hanks came on and issued another walk before giving up a two-run single. The next batter grounded out to end the inning.

The Indians (14-14) shot ahead 3-0 in the second inning when Cody Miller singled and Tyler Webb reached base on an error to put runners at first and third. Wes Fitzpatrick doubled down the left-field line to score both runs, and Ryan Davis scored Fitzpatrick with another hit.

Miller returned after missing a week and a half due to injury, but the Indians were still without regulars Dayton Provost, Nick Valaika and C.J. Witkowski.

“Even though we’re young, it’s not an excuse,” Ozella said. “The experience didn’t wear us down. It was really more injuries.”

Hart added its final run in the seventh when Fitzpatrick hit into a double play, but Miller wound up scoring.

Three weeks ago, the Indians held a two-game lead in the Foothill League with six to play. They lost five of their last six, however, and settled for fourth place and an at-large berth into Tuesday’s wild-card round.

“I thought we came out (Tuesday) and competed and really battled,” Ozella said. “Posey did a great job of pitching. I thought if we had played similar baseball in the last three weeks, we might not have been playing today. We might have been playing on Friday instead.”

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