Lions Baseball Play Hard Against Mater Dei

by Steve Fryer, The OC Register

A game this good deserved a dramatic finish. And it got one.

In the bottom of the seventh inning with the score tied, JSerra’s Joey Ponder laid down a two-strike squeeze bunt and pinch-runner Parker Johnson beat the throw to the plate, giving the Lions a 10-9 victory over Mater Dei on Tuesday in a Trinity League baseball game at JSerra High. 

The teams are tied for first place in the Trinity League.

JSerra led by three runs, then trailed by five, in the wild game with the wild conclusion.

The three-game league series between JSerra and Mater Dei is tied at one victory apiece. They play their final league matchup of the season on Saturday at 6 p.m. at Mater Dei.

JSerra, ranked No. 3 in Orange County and No. 5 in CIF-SS Division 1, is 19-3 overall and 8-2 in league. Mater Dei, No. 2 in the county and No. 3 in CIF-SS Division 1, is 17-5, 8-2.

“This one was a must-win, if we want to win league,” JSerra senior Austin Hedges said.

JSerra’s Clay Williamson had two hits and two RBIs, Grant Davis had two hits and three RBIs, Trent Boras had two hits and scored twice, and Joey Ponder drove in two, including the game-winner on the final-play squeeze.

Mater Dei’s Ryan Teel homered twice, one a grand slam and the other a three-run homer, in back-to-back innings. The Monarchs’Ty Moore had three hits and drove in two.

The Lions took a 3-0 lead in the second inning, in which Williamson contributed a two-run single. Teel hit his grand slam in the Monarchs’ five-run fourth inning.

After JSerra scored a run in the bottom of the third to trim the Mater Dei lead to 5-4, Teel’s three-run homer led a four-run fourth inning that pushed the Monarchs’ lead to 9-4.

JSerra got two runs, including a solo homer by Tyler Krause, in the bottom of the fourth to make it 9-6. The Lions, led by Davis’ two-run double, scored three in the eighth to slice the Mater Dei lead to one run.

JSerra’s Nico Darras doubled to lead off the bottom of the seventh. Parker Johnson, running for Darras, advanced to third base on Tanner Bily’s sacrifice bunt before scoring on the Ponder squeeze, with Johnson sliding across the plate just before Mater Dei relief pitcher Ryan Barr’s glove-it-and-shovel-it toss reached catcher Jeremy Martinez.