With the wind blowing out at the Canyon High baseball field Friday afternoon, an anticipated Golden League pitchers' duel between the Cowboys' Oscar Silva and Bobby Cowan of Saugus was laid to waste.
Silva entered the game with a 3-1 record and an earned-run average of 0.70, but he gave up 12 runs (10 earned) in 2 1/3 innings.
Cowan had a 1-1 record and an 0.47 ERA, but he gave up four runs in four innings. Reliever Doug Maggiora (0.50 ERA) had even less success, getting knocked around for 10 hits and eight runs (six earned) in 2 2/3 innings.
When all was said and done, Saugus (7-4, 3-1 in league play) had defeated Canyon, 14-12, thanks to the left arm of junior first baseman Chris Hernandez.
Hernandez, whose solo home run in the second inning had tied the score, 4-4, came on in relief of Maggiora with two out in the sixth and Saugus leading, 14-12.
Runners were at second and third and Billy Sivley was at bat. Sivley had hit a three-run home run in the first and singled in the fourth. And he had hit a two-run home run against Maggiora in the fifth.
After working the count to 2-2, Hernandez struck out Sivley on a curve.
"I wasn't giving him anything but breaking stuff," said Hernandez, who returned to first base in the seventh when Maggiora retired the side in order to earn a save. "I didn't have much time to warm up, only eight pitches, but I thought I could get him out."
The percentages favored walking the left-handed Sivley to load the bases and let the right-handed Maggiora face right-handed sophomore Chuck Schuster, who had struck out in his first three at-bats. But Saugus Coach Doug Worley threw caution to the wind.
"If (Sivley) hits it out, I feel awfully stupid," Worley said. "But I thought he would have a hard time hitting a left-hander."
Hernandez's heroics would not have been necessary had Canyon not staged rallies in the fifth and sixth innings.
Trailing, 12-4, after four innings, Canyon (7-4-1, 2-2) scored five runs in the fifth, the key hits being Silva's two-run triple and Sivley's home run. After Saugus scored twice in the sixth, the Cowboys turned five singles and an error into three runs in the bottom of the inning.