Hart baseball Coach Bud Murray ordered his pitcher to intentionally walk Alhambra pitcher Mario Molina in his last two at-bats Friday. Intentionally walking the pitcher is, of course, unusual. But so is Molina.
"We weren't going to hurt him with our bats," Murray said, "so I was hoping he might get tired running around the bases."
Molina just continued to give the Indians the runaround as Alhambra, despite collecting just three hits, defeated Hart, 4-0, in a Foothill League game at Hart. Molina (4-2), a senior left-hander, allowed six hits and no walks.
Said Murray: "He's probably the best pitcher in the league."
Hart pitcher Jim Bonds (3-2) kept the Indians close through four innings, allowing no hits and striking out four. But Bonds faltered in the top of the fifth when Alhambra scored three runs. A routine ground ball back to the mound by Ramon Loaisiga started the inning on a bad note as Bonds uncorked a bizarre throw that was intended for first base but wound up on the mound, inches from his feet.
The errant throw was followed by a wild pitch and Alhambra's first hit of the day, a single to right by Julio Campana, scoring Loaisiga. After walking Guy Cataloo, Bonds was relieved by Chris Matkin.
"I lost a little confidence," Bonds said. "I had a lot more left. It was in my head after I made that error."
Matkin struck out Cody Ruedaflores but gave up two runs on Jose Lopez's single to left. Although Bonds faltered, Alhambra Coach Roger Lawson lost no respect for the senior right-hander.
"He lost a little control," Lawson said. "But I was glad to see it when he went out."
Matkin struck out two in one inning and Mike Stephenson struck out three and allowed no hits in the final two innings.
Hart designated-hitter Donny Hinson led the Indians with a 2-for-3 performance with singles in the second and seventh innings.
The Indians (4-3, 10-5) are 0-2 against Alhambra at Hart (5-2, 6-7) this season. Molina also won the first game.
Bonds believes it might be a matter of confidence. Overconfidence.
"I was one of those guy who thought he wasn't that hot last time," Bonds said. "But he came in and threw a good game."
Molina wanted to leave a good impression.
"In the first two innings they put the pressure on us," Molina said. "It was my last year to play here at Hart. They always have a good team. I just wanted to make my presence felt."