COD Baseball grabs walk-off win over defending state champs, 6-5

COD Baseball grabs walk-off win over defending state champs, 6-5

COD (4-15; 1-2) received some fantastic pitching and timely hitting as they knocked off the defending state champion Grossmont Griffins (10-8; 2-1), 6-5.

Sophomore right handed starting pitcher Austin Clifton (Romoland Heritage) tossed an impressive game and sophomore catcher Matthew Hernandez (Murrieta Valley) called a great game as Clifton threw eight strong innings against the Griffins.

Grossmont would get on the board first, in the top of the second, plating two runs, on a double, which scored a run and a passed ball which scored a run from third base to give the Griffins and early 2-0 lead.

The Roadrunners would cut the score in half in the bottom of the fourth as sophomore short stop Jerred Soriano (Honolulu (HI) Moanalua) would lead off the inning with a single to left and was brought home later in the inning on a sacrifice fly to right by sophomore third baseman Nick Follett (Toronto (ONT) Bishop Allen Academy).

Desert would take the lead in the bottom of the fifth inning when freshman center fielder Adam Lopez (La Quinta H.S.) collected a one out hit-by-pitch, stole second base and was hit in the helmet by the throw by the Griffins catcher, therefore advancing to third base. Lopez would dart home on a sacrifice fly to deep left field by freshman left fielder Joshua Hernandez (Palm Desert H.S.) to tie the game at 2-2. The Roadrunners would take the lead when freshman right fielder, and lead-off batter, Nathanael Tiaga (Indio Shadow Hills) hit a two out single to center and Soriano reached base on a hit-by-pitch. Then freshman second baseman Nathaniel Lopez (Palm Desert H.S.) clobbered a shot, which completely ate up the Griffins first baseman and Tiaga scampered in for the go ahead score.

The Griffins would tie the game up at 3-3 in the top of the sixth, but Desert would regain the lead in the bottom of the seventh. Josh Hernandez would lead off the inning by reaching base on a hit-by-pitch, then advanced to second on a ground out to the Grossmont pitcher and hit third base on a passed ball. Nate Lopez would walk, then steal second base and freshman first baseman Jonathan Mejia (Palm Desert H.S.) hit an opposite field double to right field that bounced just inside the foul line and squirted diagonally away from the Griffins right fielder. The double scored Hernandez and Lopez to give Desert a 5-3 lead.

In the top of the ninth, Clifton was lifted and the duty of closing out the game was given to freshman right handed relief pitcher Daniel Connelly (Palm Desert Xavier Prep). After getting the first batter to ground out to the second baseman, the Griffins hit a double and then clobbered a wind-aided home run to right field to tie the game at 5-5. Sophomore right handed relief pitcher Isaiah Kinder (Yucca Valley H.S.) came in and put down the final two batters to hold the game.

In the bottom of the ninth, the first batter popped out to right field and then Tiaga singled to center, reaching second base on a steal, to get a runner in scoring position with one out. A ground out to the short stop, put Tiaga at third base and Nate Lopez punched a shot towards the third baseman who looked at home plate then gunned the ball wide of first base, pulling the Griffins first baseman off of the bag and Tiaga scored to win the game.

Next home game for College of the Desert Baseball will be March 6th at 2 p.m., where they will continue Pacific Coast Athletic Conference (PCAC) play by hosting the Palomar Comets of San Marcos. Hope to see you there.

Information, Photos & Story provided by COD Sports Information.