It was a bad day for miracles Friday.
Troy High School, which had made it to the Southern Section 3-A quarterfinals in dramatic style, lost out to clutch defensive plays and flat-footed baserunners.
The Warriors lost to Edgewood, 3-1, at Troy. They lost with the bases loaded and one out in the eighth.
Trojan second baseman Eric Figueroa had caught a pop fly that came off Rick Dymond's bat so weakly it barely cleared Edgewood pitcher Larry Gonzales' head. When he caught the ball, Figueroa was stunned to find Troy pinch-runner Dan Vivier standing well off first base, seemingly spellbound by the flight of the ball. Figueroa flipped the ball to first to complete a double play and end the season for the Warriors, who had needed extra innings to win their first two playoff games.
In Troy's first-round victory against Damien, Warrior second baseman Jeff DeJesse hit home runs in the seventh and eighth innings.
In the second round, the Warriors had come from a run behind in the eighth inning against defending 3-A champion Canyon, scoring the winning run on a wild pitch. Ironically, Vivier was at the plate when the wild pitch was thrown.
But Friday it was Edgewood that came up with the improbable plays. Most notably, No. 9 hitter Terry Woods hit a two-run eighth inning home run to win the game. It was Woods' first home run of the season. And Woods almost didn't make it to the plate that inning.
"Coach asked me if I wanted to be pinch-hit for," Woods said. "I said I thought I'd like to try."
Troy had done something unusual this game. Stayed even.
Gonzales hit a solo homer with two outs in the first inning. Troy came back to tie in the second. The Warriors had just one hit in the inning but took advantage of a hit batter and two wild pitches.
From the second inning to the sixth the game moved quickly. Troy pitcher Tony Panetti retired the Trojans in order in the third, fourth and fifth innings. Gonzales allowed only a fifth-inning walk to Warrior third baseman Steve Russell.
In the sixth it looked like Troy would finally win a game in regulation. After first baseman John Mash had struck out to start the inning, center fielder Bill St. Clair hit a ball that seemed it would be a double after passing just inside of third base and well down the line.
However, St. Clair slowed down and eventually stopped at first with a single.
"I guess the base coach thought he couldn't make it," Troy Coach Arvin Sethman said. "I would have liked to see him go for the double. He would have scored easily on Tony's hit."
Tony is Tony Godfrey, who followed with a long single to center field that advanced St. Clair only as far as third base. Jeff Roaro-Jasso grounded back to Gonzales for the second out. Dymond then followed with a ball that got passed Trojan third baseman Kenny Henry and appeared headed for left field. But shortstop Albert Salgado fielded the ball and made a strong throw to get Dymond at first and end the inning.
"These guys are good players," Edgewood Coach Rick Candale said. "They practice those kind of plays a thousand times a day. Once in awhile you actually need them in a game."
Sometimes more than once.
In the seventh, with Troy's Russell coming around third to score the apparent winning run Figueroa took a relay throw from the outfield and made a perfect throw to the catcher Tom Henderson to get Russell at the plate.
"We knew these were coming-back-and-beating teams," Figueroa said. "We didn't intend to be one."