On May 27, the baseball season came to an end for the 2020/2021 school year, and for the Diamondbacks, it ended in a spectacular fashion.
It was a beautiful sunny day at Serrano High School’s baseball field, and over a hundred enthusiasts of the sport were in attendance to watch Serrano face off against league rival Oak Hills. The Diamondbacks entered the contest with a record of 11-10, and Oak Hills at 10-10.
The score was tied 0-0 at the bottom of the fifth inning, and pitching for the Bulldogs was #9, Kaleb Lore. At bat for Serrano came #34 Daniel O’Neill, who connected with a two-base hit. After walking the next two batters, #24 Gavin Cunningham steps up to the plate with a base hit that brought O’Neill in for a run. Following right behind him was #22, Jesse Navarette, who rounded third and continued home with a headfirst slide just as the Bulldogs catcher caught the ball to tag Navarette out at home plate. The score was 1-0 Serrano. After a Bulldog error, #7 Jacob Whyte also reached home plate ending the inning 2-0.
Entering the top of the seventh and final inning of the bout, Serrano was still ahead by two and had starting pitcher #2, David O’Neill, on the mound. O’Neill threw four straight balls and walked the Bulldogs #16, Collin Lee. This caused Serrano’s Head Coach, John Grijalva, to approach the mound to talk with his pitcher. This is how the Coach described the moment after the game, “I knew he was getting tired a little bit, but he’s a competitor. Him throwing balls, as much as I know, he can come back and throw strikes and get us back to where we need to be.” With O’Neill requesting to stay in the game, Coach Grijalva decided to let him try to finish out the inning. But things quickly turned ugly.
With #8 Isaiah Crowe at bat for Oak Hills, O’Neill threw a wild ball towards a leading Lee at first base that hits the grass and continues to roll. Lee moves to second, and the momentum shifts to the visiting squad. Four batters later, with no outs and bases loaded, the score stood at 2-1. Coach Grijalva had seen enough and brought #4, Aiden Taylor, to replace O’Neill as pitcher. Taylor gave up two base hits and struck two batters out, exiting the inning with his team down 3-2.
In the bottom of the seventh and with runners on second and third base, the Diamondbacks #29 Conner Abadie connected with a base hit against Lore that brought in two runs to claim the victory in what was a very close and exciting contest. Serrano ends the season 12-10 and in third place in the Mojave River League with an 8-7 record in league competition. Oak Hills finishes their season with a 10-11 record and in second place in the MRL with a 10-5 record in league play.
The CIF playoff bracket will be released on May 30 at 10 am. If Serrano gets in, they will likely be facing an away game.