A fly ball, groundout or even a check-swing roller probably would have sufficed.
But Rob Davis belted a game-ending grand slam in the bottom of the seventh inning Friday as Hart High took over sole possession of first in the Foothill League with a 5-1 come-from-behind baseball victory over visiting San Gabriel. Davis' homer made a winner of Andrew Lorraine, who threw a one-hitter and struck out nine to improve his record to 4-0.
"I was just thinking I had to get the fly ball," said Davis, who was two for three, including his first home run. "I hit it solid."
With the score tied and none out, 1-1, Hart (8-1-2, 5-0 in league play) loaded the bases on an error, a single and an intentional walk. That set the stage for Davis, a senior shortstop and the Indians' leading batter (.483).
"I haven't coached a kid who is any tougher than he is with the game on the line," Hart Coach Bud Murray said. "Ever since I've known him, that's how he's been. He's got a knack."
Davis knocked the first pitch from right-hander Danny Ricabal over the left-field fence to trigger a jubilant dugout eruption and end what had been an entertaining duel of off-speed offerings between Ricabal and Lorraine.
Lorraine, a senior left-hander with a puzzling assortment of pitches, allowed only five baserunners and retired the final 11 batters he faced while logging his second complete game.
Yet Lorraine's only mistake--a hanging curve in the second inning that junior Dan Terrazas hit over the left-field fence for a solo home run--gave San Gabriel (5-5-1, 4-1) a 1-0 lead that almost stood up.
"That would have been a tough one to lose," Lorraine said. "I'll tell you, Rob Davis is probably the best clutch hitter in the world. I gotta buy him something."
Hart tied the score in the sixth on a bases-loaded sacrifice fly by pinch-hitter R. J. Simone that scored Davis. Ricabal (4-1), who struck out three while yielding eight hits, struck out Tom Wolff swinging to end the inning.
"As good a game as Danny threw, Andy threw a better game," San Gabriel Coach Dick Guzman said. "We didn't produce any offense. Against a team like Hart, how long is (a one-run lead) going to last?"
Hart, however, has struggled offensively. The Indians entered the game with a .260 batting average and only 13 extra-base hits in 258 at-bats. But the team slump, Davis said, won't last long.
"We're going to be OK," he said. "We hit well today. We knew it would be a tough game."