Here is the anatomy of the rally on Thursday, May 11, that locked up the Coast Valley League championship for Coast Union High School.
On a sun-splashed, blustery afternoon at Coast Union’s baseball field — with the game and the season on the line — freshman Emany Plasencia stepped to the plate in the bottom of the sixth inning with a teammate in scoring position and the Broncos tied with Valley Christian Academy 2-2.
The lead-up to Plasencia’s plate appearance is important. Senior Thor Ronemus was the first hitter in the sixth; he reached base on an infield error. Senior Jack MacKinnon grounded into a fielder’s choice, and MacKinnon was now at first base. Junior Chase Volz singled, sending MacKinnon to second.
Plasencia promptly ripped a double to center field, sending MacKinnon home with the go-ahead run, and putting Broncos (Volz) on third and (Plasencia) on second. Next up was junior Will Stephenson, a previously reliable contact hitter who had struggled at the plate this season.
But Stephenson came through with a crisp, clutch single to bring home the fourth and fifth runs for Coast; and the unearned run the Lions tallied in the top of the seventh was harmless. Final score: 5-3 Broncos. The last out in the game was made creatively by first baseman Stephenson.
The Lions’ batter hit a routine infield grounder, but the throw to first for the out pulled Stephenson off the bag toward home plate. But the junior snagged the throw and in the same motion, whipped his arm to the left and slapped the tag on the hustling runner as he went by. Game over.
Volz started the game and pitched five innings of two-hit, two-run ball. Using 52 pitches, he walked two Lions and struck out seven; his ERA is 1.85. Riley Kennedy pitched the last two innings, walking one and striking out one. He threw 24 pitches in shutting the Lions down to close out the championship of the CVL; Kennedy’s ERA is 1.46.
Auggie Johnson had two hits in that key game and coming into a CIF playoff week is hitting .404. MacKinnon had three hits Thursday and ended the regular season batting .333. Ronemus is hitting .389; Volz is hitting an impressive.448; and Kennedy has a .436 average.
Trinity Classical Academy comes to Coast Union at 2 p.m. Thursday to play the Broncos in a CIF Southern Section Division 5A playoff game. The game will be broadcast live on KTEA-FM (103.5), and streams live on www.1035KTEA.COM.
Following are matchups for the first round of the CIF Southern Section baseball and softball playoffs, with both games scheduled for Thursday, May 18, on the Coast Union campus:
Baseball: The Broncos entertain Trinity Classical Academy baseball squad at 2 p.m.
Softball: The Lady Broncos host Santa Ynez High School at 3:30 p.m.