Fullerton Hornet Marco Rivera hit a line drive to right field to bring in Austin O’Banion home for the win in the 16th inning against the Cypress Chargers to advance to the next round of the playoffs.
The Hornets had loaded the bases in the 15th inning but left the runners stranded. The second time in as many innings had a different outcome. After a pitching change, the first batter John Forsythe faced was his last. Rivera’s hit finally lifted one these teams to victory.
“It just feels so good when your team needs you and you step and be clutch,” said outfielder Rivera. “It felt amazing and I was just so happy.”
The Hornets had no quit in them, having rallied back twice in the game before their eventual victory, the second time came in extra innings.
After allowing two runs in the top of the 14th inning the Hornets had their backs to the wall. Shortstop Justin Row got on base with one out; next up was Oscar Heredia who blasted a home run over the right field wall to time up the game.
“I was just trying to wait for my pitch all game, and it came, I hit it,” said first baseman Heredia.
The first Hornet rally came in the 6th inning. Third baseman Trent Hammond doubled to center to bring in Row and Heredia. The next batter was catcher Jeffrey Murray who hit a double to left field to bring in designated hitter Shane Carrier that tied the game 3-3.
Head Coach Nick Fuscardo was quick to credit the victory to defense and pitching.
“To win you need good defense and pitching if you want any chance and we did today,” Fuscardo said.
He praised Kyle Lazcano with a good start before he stumbled in the 4th. After Ryon Martinez pitched 2 2/3 scoreless innings, Nico Castaneda stepped up pitching 6 1/3 innings allowing 2 runs.
Hornet pitcher Parker Merritt closed the game with three scoreless innings.
“We’re tenacious, we don’t stop, the playoffs have given us a new season and our second wind,” said Fuscardo. “We’re battling more than we have at anytime this year and we’ll see what happens.”
The Cypress Chargers end their season 25-17.
The Fullerton Hornets improve to 23-15 and advance to
the quarter finals to face Santa Barbara City College Vaqueros in Santa Barbara on Friday and Saturday.