Mats Rally to Stun Wildcats 6-4

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Eric Ting, Editor-in-Chief

When junior pitcher/third baseman Tim Tague reached first on an infield single in the fifth inning, he had no idea he had just started what would become an improbable and exhilarating rally for the Matadors. “I just wanted to get on base leading off the inning, (the pitcher) sent me a pitch right down the middle, I just sent it right back up,” Tague said. Going into the bottom of the fifth, the Mats recorded just one hit and found themselves down 4-1 to the underdog Dougherty Valley Wildcats. Tague scored on a Wildcat throwing error later in the inning, and the Mats left the fifth down just 4-2 with new life.

Skip ahead to the bottom of the sixth, where senior catcher Will McConnell stepped up to the plate after outfielders Daniel Huston and Sam Walker were each walked to start the inning. “I had to advance the runners, I was given the (instruction of which) side to bunt to, although they saved the ability for me to get a hit and not just get a sacrifice bunt,” McConnell said. “The goal was to set it up for Tim Tague to clear the bases.” The catcher followed through, and got the bunt to stick. He then beat the throw to first, which sent Tague to the plate with the bases loaded.

“Coach Dell told me to find a pitch I could hit,” Tague said. “I had my weight back, and I got it off. I like being in fun situations like that.” Tague did find his pitch, crushed a fly ball to deep left field, and like McConnell predicted, hit a base-clearing three RBI triple to put the Mats up 5-4. Sophomore pitcher/second baseman Sam Liang subsequently hit Tague in with an RBI single of his own, and ace James Vaccaro finished off the Wildcats in the seventh inning to give Miramonte a stunning 6-4 victory.

In the eyes of coach Vince Dell’Aquila, Tuesday’s victory could mark a turning point in the Mats’ season. “Tim’s hit down the line was something we didn’t have before,” Dell’Aquila said. “We’ve had that situation at least ten times this season, bases loaded with one or no outs, but this was the first time we got a hit. We needed it. Tim came up so big right there, we felt we could still (pull off the comeback), all we needed was a little spark.”

Senior ace James Vaccaro admitted his pitching performance wasn’t his best of the year, but still threw a complete game and delivered when it mattered. “It wasn’t my best outing, I didn’t think I came out with a chip on my shoulder, I came out just wanting to pitch and execute, and didn’t have the same attitude where I wanted to just shove it,” Vaccaro said. “Finishing strong was important, the offense energized our team and the seventh inning was the one inning I had that went one-two-three.”

On Thursday the Mats will square off against the 2-7 Castlemont Knights to try and improve their record 3-0 on the new field, hoping to feed off of the new momentum generated from Tuesday’s comeback victory.