Auspicious, it wasn't.
The first swing by the first batter sent a line-drive single in front of Poly High right fielder Jesus Perez on a nice big hop--and he kicked it for an error.
"I went down to one knee and it just bounced off my glove," said Perez, rolling his eyes.
A few hours later, what started with a boot ended with another as Poly scored three times in the bottom of the seventh inning to defeat Granada Hills, 7-6, Tuesday in the championship game of the Holt-Willis tournament at Birmingham.
With one out, the bases loaded and the score tied, 6-6, Granada Hills reliever Thane Charackey's first pitch hit Robert Aros in the right foot to force in the winning run.
For the Record
Los Angeles Times Thursday April 11, 1991 Valley Edition Sports Part C Page 17 Column 4 Zones Desk 1 inches; 36 words Type of Material: Correction
For the record: A photo caption in Wednesday's Valley Sports section misidentified two high school baseball players. Third baseman Marlon McKinney of Poly High applied the tag to a sliding Darrick Cole of Granada Hills in a Holt-Willis tournament game.
Aros retrieved the ball--one of several that were battered all day by bats (seven extra-base hits, including five Granada Hills doubles) and gloves (nine errors)--and planned to give it a prominent place on his trophy shelf.
"Game-winning RBI," Aros said.
Run booted in was more like it. Perez kick-started the rally with a leadoff triple off starter Chris Markey with Granada Hills leading, 6-4. It was the eighth hit in 13 tournament at-bats for Perez, who was selected the tournament's most valuable player.
Raul Torres followed by ripping a run-scoring single into left to drive in Perez and bring Poly (15-1) within a run. Granada Hills Coach Darryl Stroh stuck with the fading Markey (2-1), who already had recorded wins in two tournament games.
"We're tired, worn out," Stroh said of his pitching staff. "I knew he was tired, but we didn't have much choice."
Poly's Steve Chavez tried his best to give the Highlanders (9-6-1) an out by dropping a bunt in front of the plate, but Markey heaved the ball past first base for an error, sending runners to second and third with none out.
An intentional walk loaded the bases for pinch-hitter Juan Chavira, whose ground ball to third forced Torres at the plate for the first out. Jonathan Campbell, whose misadventures in center field led to three Highlanders runs in the fourth, singled to drive in Danny Martinez for a 6-6 tie.
Stroh, who grimaced in the dugout as he watched Markey surrender eight hits over the preceding 2 1/3 innings, finally was forced to insert the little-used Charackey, who nailed Aros with his first pitch to end the game.
The victory was the 12th in a row for Poly, which twice in the four-game tournament came back from five-run deficits. Poly also avenged its lone defeat of the season, a 3-2 loss in the San Fernando tournament at the hands of Granada Hills.