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CIF baseball: SCCS kickstarts its way past Patriots

Cardinals beat Temecula Prep in bottom of seventh

Posted: May 23, 2012 1:55 a.m.
Updated: May 23, 2012 1:55 a.m.

Santa Clarita Christian’s Tommy Curry tracks down a ground ball during the first inning on Tuesday at The Master’s College. SCCS won 2-1.

After numerous would haves and should haves and didn’ts, Santa Clarita Christian School baseball had to do something to kickstart its offense.

In the bottom of the seventh inning on the first pitch from Temecula Prep relief pitcher Aron Grangruth, the Cardinals made a double steal.

Two pitches later they won the game on soft ground ball.

SCCS defeated the Patriots 2-1 in the second round of the CIF-Southern Section Division VII playoffs on Tuesday at The Master’s College’s Reese Field.

The Cardinals are now in the quarterfinals for the first time since 2004, when they won the Division VI title.

“I’ve been playing Little League baseball since I was 5 years old, and that was the most exciting finish I’ve ever seen,” said Cardinal Davis Muxlow, who was the winning pitcher in the game.

Muxlow was part of the double-steal as well.

For 5 1/3 innings, Temecula pitcher Sam Sainz kept the Cardinals (16-6) in check.

But he allowed an RBI single to Tommy Curry in the sixth inning to tie the score at 1-1.

In the seventh, he showed signs of tiring after eclipsing the 100-pitch mark.

He walked leadoff batter Ryan Fullarton, then balked him to second base.

Sainz, the Majestic League Most Valuable Player, intentionally walked Muxlow before giving way to Grangruth.

That shuffled the Patriots’ defense.

SCCS head coach Garrick Moss took note of how Chase Munoz moved behind the plate from first base.

Munoz is left-handed so Moss knew if Fullarton was to attempt a steal of third base, Munoz would have to throw across his body.

He gave Fullarton a sign and he went for it on the first pitch, sliding under the tag of third baseman Sean Nagle.

Muxlow grabbed second base on the play.

Moss then told Fullarton if Cardinal batter Clint Ross hit a slow grounder, he would have the green light to score. If it was a hard hit ball, Fullarton was to freeze.

On Grangruth’s third pitch, Ross chopped slowly to second baseman Miles Fagan, who threw home.

Fullarton slid feet first for the winning run.

“It wasn’t an easy call, but I thought the odds were with us,” Moss said.

The Cardinals had runners in scoring position in the first, third and fourth innings. They had the bases loaded in the first, but each time came up empty.

SCCS struggled early against Sainz, whose cutting fastball and diving curveball kept the Cardinal hitters off balance early.

Through five innings, Sainz struck out eight batters.

The Patriots (15-8) gave him an early lead as Muxlow battled command issues in the first couple of innings.

In the first inning, leadoff batter Jowhyn Pugeda reached base on an error by SCCS third baseman Jake Kaiserski. He came around to score two batters later on a Sainz groundout.

But Muxlow found a way to strand seven Patriots runners through the first three innings.

“You leave (seven) on in the first three innings it’s tough to come back when their pitcher is throwing more and more strikes,” said Temecula Prep head coach Jason Litt.

Muxlow was in trouble in each of the first four innings, then settled when he found the edges of the plate.

In seven innings, he allowed six hits, hit three batters and struck out six.

Now the Cardinals get Dunn of Los Olivos on Friday at a site to be determined with their ace Fullarton on the mound.
Dunn defeated Immanuel Christian 30-5 on Tuesday.

“We’ll have a shot,” Moss said. “Fully’s going to have to be on and we’re going to have to make some plays.”



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