SAN DIEGO — The game between Valhalla and Bonita Vista high schools--a game that wouldn't end--still hasn't ended.
As a result, one of the participants in Saturday's San Diego Section 3-A baseball championship game hasn't been determined.
Two things are certain: No. 1 Santana, which eliminated Mira Mesa, 13-8, in a semifinal Thursday, is in the championship game; and because of a protest that was first denied and subsequently upheld, Valhalla and Bonita Vista--which had apparently finished their game Tuesday--won't have a winner until they complete their first-round game at 2 p.m. today at Bonita Vista. The winner will travel to the University of San Diego to meet Mount Carmel for the right to play Santana.
It wasn't all supposed to be so confusing.
Mount Carmel and Bonita Vista arrived at USD Thursday to play a 3 p.m. game that would decide Santana's opponent for the final. However, because of a decision reached by the San Diego Section Coordinating Committee at 2 p.m. Thursday, that game was not played.
The committee overturned a decision made by San Diego Section Commissioner Kendall Webb. And his decision goes back to that game that won't end.
Bonita Vista apparently beat Valhalla, 4-2, Tuesday. But in the bottom of the sixth inning, with Valhalla leading, 2-1, Valhalla Coach John Marlow protested that an umpire erred in not allowing Marlow to substitute a player not listed on his lineup card.
Webb agreed with Marlow but disallowed his protest because it didn't affect the outcome of the game.
On Wednesday, Marlow appealed to Dan Ramos, head coordinating committee, but was told that he needed a written appeal from the Valhalla principal in order for the committee to take action.
Ramos received the letter Thursday morning and got together his committee--which includes Ramos, Wayne Debate from the San Diego Unified School District and Ed Brand, principal at Orange Glen High--that afternoon. At 2 p.m., Ramos announced the committee's decision to override Webb.
"(Marlow's) protest had to be valid because there was no clear-cut way to decipher what might have happened in that game," Ramos said.
Bonita Vista Coach John Gibbs heard of the decision 20 minutes before his team was supposed to play Mount Carmel. Gibbs wouldn't comment on the decision, but he did discuss his options with the school's vice principal, Curt Debost.
"John said he wants to play the game on his home field, not here (at USD)," Debost told a CIF official.
Marlow, who arrived at USD in his work outfit (he also works at the Santee Sheriff's Department), agreed. Debost and Marlow agreed that the game would be resumed today with Valhalla leading, 2-1, in the bottom of the sixth inning. Bonita Vista will have runners at second and third with one out.
In Santana's victory over Mira Mesa, the Sultans (25-2) came up with nine runs in the bottom of the fourth inning to erase a 3-2 deficit and beat the defending 3-A champion Marauders at Grossmont College. Dale Henson hit a three-run home run to highlight the rally. Bill Reed (10-0) pitched a complete game despite allowing 12 hits. Jeff Gay had four of Santana's 13 hits, which came against six Mira Mesa pitchers.
In the 2-A semifinals:
Mission Bay 6, Escondido 3--A failed squeeze play in the top of the sixth inning proved critical as Escondido was unable to tie the score and then gave up three runs in the bottom of the inning. With Mission Bay leading, 3-2, Rob Woods doubled for Escondido and took third on a wild pitch. But Bob Esposito popped up trying to bunt and Woods was doubled off third. The Buccaneers put the game out of reach on a two-run double by Tony Enotomo and a run-scoring single by Jeff Dean. Scott Vonderlieth got the victory for Mission Bay (21-6).
San Marcos 2, University 1 (eight innings)--Tino Lozano walked on a 3-2 count with the bases loaded in the bottom of the eighth to give San Marcos (16-9) the victory. The Knights will play Mission Bay in the 2-A final Saturday. Robert Griffin scored the winning run after leading off the eighth with a fly ball that was misplayed by right fielder Duke Gonzalez for a three-base error. Mike Eggleton intentionally walked the next two batters before walking Lozano.