For Hart High baseball Coach Bud Murray, Friday's 3-2, Foothill League win over Burbank was a waiting game right from the start.
Both teams were forced to wait 45 minutes before the game started because no umpire had arrived at game time. When one finally did, Burbank was minus the services of first baseman Steve Woody, who injured his back while doing exercises to stay loose.
The waiting before the game, however, didn't bother Murray or his team, which had no problem staying limber. It was the waiting Murray did in the seventh inning for starting pitcher Jim Bonds to finish the game that got to him.
Bonds, pitching as though he were trying to make up for lost time, breezed through the first six innings, striking out eight with one walk and allowing only two hits.
"I went out and started getting them 1-2-3," said Bonds, who retired 15 of the first 16 Burbank batters. "We were a little antsy and I thought the waiting before the game might affect me, but it didn't."
Bonds also drove in two runs with a first-inning triple. But with Hart leading, 3-0, in the seventh, Bonds had trouble closing.
"I think I just ran out of gas," Bonds said. "I wasn't throwing strikes."
Burbank (13-7, 5-6) struck for two runs as Bonds walked three batters and gave up two singles, including one to Ray Lemus that drove in Eric Vargas and John Buller.
With each pitch Bonds threw for a ball, the players on the Burbank bench began clapping their hands and chanting.
Meanwhile, Murray paced the dugout, making one trip to the mound and stopping himself halfway toward another. Finally, when Bonds walked Jack Purvis to load the bases with two out, Murray had waited long enough. He replaced Bonds with Chris Matkin.
"I gave Bonds as much rope as I could," Murray said. "But Matkin has gotten the job done more times than he hasn't."
With a wicked sidearm breaking ball, Matkin struck out Sean Manzano to end the game and give Hart (16-6, 8-3) its third win over Burbank this season. The win also kept Hart one game behind first-place Alhambra.
Matkin, however, wasn't Murray's first choice for a reliever.
"Our top two relievers were already in the game," Murray said of Casey Burrill and Jason Edwards. "One was playing left field and the other was behind the dish. Neither was ready."
Matkin, who Murray said has hit a few batters with his submarine delivery, earned his third save, most on the team.
"I'm just glad he came in and did what he did," Murray said. "It was tough. Whenever you get a chance to put the game away and you don't, it's always going to be tough."
Bonds (5-2) finished with nine strikeouts and four walks.