College of the Canyons pitcher Lance Gibson knew he would be in for a challenge against L. A. Harbor. The Seahawks' lineup features six starters from last season's team, which finished third in the state and already had beaten Canyons this season.
And while Gibson (1-2) rose to the challenge Tuesday, limiting Harbor to six hits and three earned runs in eight innings, his teammates did not. The result was a 9-3 Harbor win in a nonconference game at Canyons.
"Gibson really gave us fits," Harbor Coach Jim O'Brien said. "Our batters just went to sleep against him. He pitched a great game.
"We were like a bunch of little rats scurrying around trying to find what we could get."
In the ninth inning, Harbor found five unearned runs to break open a 4-3 contest.
"Our defense just fell apart," Canyons Coach Len Mohney said. "Gibson pitched a good game. He had thrown 115 pitches and he was getting tired. We had to take him out."
Harbor (18-3) sent 10 batters to the plate in the ninth. Jason Farrell, who came on in relief of Gibson, gave up four runs in two-thirds of an inning and Jeff Adams allowed another.
Farrell struck out Gus Mungaray to start the inning, and after that, things fell apart. Shortstop Charlie Fowlks overthrew first on a routine ground ball, which allowed Pat Liebsack to advance to second. Liebsack later scored on Mike Berry's single.
The Hawks scored two more runs when right fielder Chris Vasquez dropped a fly ball that would have ended the inning.
"We would have liked to have gone into the bottom of the ninth on our home field down by only a run," Mohney said. "But we didn't give ourselves a chance and just took ourselves out of the game."
Trailing, 4-3, in the eighth inning, Canyons (8-5) had an opportunity to tie the score. Frank Aguirre hit a two-out pinch-hit single and Josh Bergara, running in place of Aguirre, stole second. But Harbor's John Ingram struck out Jason Stanley to end the inning.
Catcher J. R. Trujillo was three for four--with a tie-breaking home run in the fourth and a double--to lead Canyons' 11-hit attack.