Additional reporting by Himani Yalamaddi.With consecutive hits by the Matadors allowing them to score point after point during the sixth inning, the relatively slow game culminated in an action packed inning that gave MVHS the victory. On March 27, a rally in the sixth inning brought MVHS to a three run lead after facing a three run deficit against Homestead HS. The once silent bleachers erupted in excitement as runner after runner crossed home plate. Although HHS managed to scratch home a run in the seventh inning, the Matadors maintained their lead and took the game 6-4.
It was only a few minutes into the game when HHS scored a run on a deep hit into center field. The Matadors were unable to match them, with the bottom of the first inning ending with no runners able to advance past first base. With one out and HHS runners on first and second in the top of the second inning, both runners stole the next base and advanced to second and third. A line drive to left field brought home the runner from third, bringing the score to 0-2.
The Matadors’ bats were silent as the bottom of the second inning ended with no base hits. Sophomore Ryan Hada explained that this slow start was due to the change in pitching speed.
“For some reason slow pitching, we’re not good at hitting,” Hada said. “So when they came out with the slow pitcher it made us fall behind a little.”
With the Matador pitcher junior Chris Anderson unable to find the strike zone, he walked three during the top of the third inning.The outcome of the game didn’t seem promising for the Matadors. But strong defense by both the infield and outfield managed to tag out the runners on base and prevented the Mustangs from advancing any further than second.
It was in the bottom of the third inning when MVHS’ offense began to pick up its pace. Breaking the pattern of continuous outs, a base hit by junior Jarrett James and a line drive to center field by Anderson put runners on first and second base. A bunt by sophomore Jason Koontz allowed both runners to steal the next bases. Despite having runners in scoring position, a groundout by Hughes prevented the runners from scoring.
Once again, strong defensive fielding by the Matadors kept HHS from scoring any runs in the fourth inning. In contrast, MVHS continued their stride In the bottom of the fourth inning. Senior Allen Iwamoto started off the inning with a line drive triple into center field. Junior Josh Huang followed up with another line drive into center field, allowing Iwamoto to score. The Matadors cheered from the dugout as they came back from a few dry innings. Although they were unable to bring home any more runners, Iwamoto’s run narrowed the gap between the two teams, bringing the score to 1-2.
However, the Mustangs struck back in the next inning. After senior Brendan Hughes caught a hit in center field, senior Anthony Metrulas from HHS unexpectedly blasted a homerun over the right field fence, lessening the Matadors’ chances at a comeback by bringing the score to 1-3. But in the Matadors’ half of the inning, a hit to center field by Hughes and and a ground ball to left field by Iwamoto put runners on first and second. Another line drive to center field from Huang allowed Hughes to score.
Although HHS was unable to score in the sixth inning, things took a turn for the better for the Matadors. Kumaraguru started off the inning with a base hit and James followed with a line drive to left field; both players managed to get on base. After a short timeout by HHS, Kumaraguru stole third base and scored on a ground ball to left field from Hada. The Matadors continued to ride momentum as a ground ball to right field brought James in and a double to right field from Hughes sent Hada to home plate. The Matadors could be seen smiling as their teammates passed the plate one by one. A line drive to center field by Iwamoto allowed Hughes to score as well, putting MVHS in the lead, doubling HHS’ score, 6-3.
“The good thing about baseball is when a momentum [builds up], it just keeps going and that’s pretty much what happened that inning,” Kumaraguru said.
With their lead in the game, the Matadors were feeling good about their chances of winning in the top of the seventh inning. But as senior Akshay Mahajan walked two runners, a line drive to right field brought home a runner, bringing the score up to 6-4 as HHS fought to regain their lead. Tensions were high as Kumaraguru was substituted in for Mahajan as a relief pitcher. Another base hit and a walk had the bases loaded.
With two outs already, the hitter at bat would determine whether or not the Mustangs could come back on top. All eyes were on Kumaraguru. Everyone was on the edge of their seats as the HHS batter hit a line drive down the right field line. The crowd cheered as Koontz caught the ball. The game ended in a 6-4 victory in the Matadors’ favor.
“It was a good game because it was an emotional roller coaster,” Huang said.
The team’s next home game will be on April 18th against Gunn HS at 4:00 p.m.