It was pay-back time for Steve Pearson, Fullerton High School second baseman. His two-run single ignited a six-run eighth inning that broke a 5-5 tie and lifted Fullerton over La Habra, 11-5, Friday in a Freeway League baseball game at La Habra.
With the victory, Fullerton (10-5, 16-8) becomes the league's second-seeded team (behind league champion Troy) for the forthcoming Southern Section 3-A baseball playoffs.
With the defeat, La Habra (8-7, 11-10) ends the season tied for third but will miss the playoffs. Sonora (8-7, 12-13) will be the third-place representative, having won the season series with La Habra, 2-1.
Pearson had struck out with the bases loaded and two out in the sixth inning. He struck out four times Wednesday as La Habra (8-7, 11-10) defeated Fullerton, 6-4.
But in the eighth, Pearson's single put Fullerton ahead, 7-5. Collin Milligan added a two-run double, and the final two runs of the inning came on RBI singles by Vince Chavara and Ray Diaz.
"It was just a matter of time for him (Pearson) to get his bat going," said Dave Torres, Fullerton coach. "He had had a tough week so far, but proved what a competitor he is."
Kurt Hindman (3-3) came on in relief in the fifth for Fullerton and pitched 3 scoreless innings. He allowed three hits in place of starter Jeff Middlebrooks.
The Indians again had a problem driving in men in scoring position. Fullerton left 12 runners on base, same as in Wednesday's loss that clinched the league title for Troy.
Fullerton had 13 hits, including John Melem's fourth home run and Jeff Bailey's ninth. Both homers came off La Habra right-hander Jason Reese (7-4), who lasted 7 innings in defeat.
Troy 16, Sunny Hills 15--The Warriors came back from 14-3 and 15-9 deficits and scored seven runs in the seventh to defeat the Lancers at Troy. Sunny Hills committed three errors in the seventh, and Troy's Kyle Coburn, John Sliwinski, Dave Shirota and Mike Pawlawski each had RBI hits in the inning. The winning run scored on an error.
Pawlawski and Coburn each homered, and Chris Robinson had four RBIs for the Warriors. Mike Case hit a grand slam in the fifth inning, but the play was ruled a double because Case passed baserunner Jeff Ferren just before he reached home plate.
Stewart Richardson hit a grand slam and Jason Sugarman hit a two-run homer in the fourth for Sunny Hills, and Mike McGuire added a three-run homer and Trevor Painton had a solo homer in the first.