After having seen two long fly balls to deep left snared by Washington’s Michael Caballero — balls that, on a conventional field, would have been home runs — Mission two-way senior Azaan Lewis faced his tormentor with the bases loaded and two outs in the seventh inning of Wednesday’s game between the Bears and Eagles.
Leading by two runs, Lewis spun a perfect backdoor curveball to end the Washington threat to help Mission beat Washington 3-1 at Jackson Playground.
The game was largely a pitching duel between seniors C.J. Pino and Josh Wong. Washington batters ran up Pino’s pitch count early in contest, while Wong kept a potent Bear offense at bay, and certainly benefitted by the vastness of Jackson Playground, which, like Big Rec, does not have traditional home run fences.
In the third inning, Mission manufactured the first run of the game, when junior J.T. Howells singled to right, and advanced on a sacrifice bunt by junior Mika Mateo. Lewis drove him in with an RBI single.
“That sacrifice bunt says everything about Mika.” said head coach Chris Ayag. “[Mateo] has been dying to get into games and he made the most of his opportunity. We needed to find a way, as Wong was doing an outstanding job on the mound.”
It seemed that is all Pino would need as he found his groove through six innings. He was aided in the fifth by Will Cohen’s seeing-eye home run to start the fifth. Mateo then followed by reaching on a rare error by Washington, and Pino helped his own cause by crushing a line drive double just beyond the outreached glove of right fielder Jasper Lindsey.
Heading into the seventh with 3-0 lead, Mission allowed Washington’s Kayne Moody to reach on a error, and allowed base hits by Niko Lanier and Jasper Lindsey to chased Pino due to his high pitch count.
Lewis entered an promptly struck out Josh Wong. A single by Christian Wong scored the Eagles first run, setting up the dramatic ending.
The teams play again on Thursday at 3:30 p.m. Nealon Diamond at Big Rec.