LANCASTER — In addition to merely good baseball, the JetHawks provided the 4,911 fans at the Hangar with something new in the team's 3-2 victory over the Rancho Cucamonga Quakes on Friday night.
The fun began in the bottom of the seventh, just after catcher Scot Sealy had given the JetHawks a 3-1 lead with a solo home run to right field. The next hitter, Luis Molina, was immediately knocked down by a high inside fastball from Quake pitcher Ryan Van De Weg.
"He almost killed me," Molina said.
That drew the immediate attention of the JetHawks, with Sealy stomping out of the dugout and screaming at Van De Weg. Players from both dugouts swarmed on the field shouting at each other, though the umpires interceded before any punches were thrown.
"If they are going to go after a guy after a home run they should go after the guy who hit the home run, not some innocent guy," Sealy said.
Said Van De Weg: "I would never throw at anyone's head. They threw at [Quake outfielder Gary Matthews Jr.] after the home run and the double. I guess it was just adrenaline."
The JetHawks (15-7) warned that tonight's game might involve retaliation.
"We don't want to resort to that type of ball but if they want to we will," Sealy said. "If they want to get down and dirty we will."
Said Manager Dave Brundage: "You just don't forget something like this."
As for the game, JetHawk starter Marino Santana (2-2) allowed one run in 6 1/3 innings. Jesus Marquez, who ran his hitting streak to 13 games, drove in a run to tie the score, 1-1, and Carlos Villalobos knocked in the go-ahead run, both in the sixth.
JetHawk reliever Tom Szimanski gave up one run in the ninth, but struck out Matthews, a former Mission College standout, with the potential tying run on second base to end the game to pick up his third save.
Santana, who has alternated between good and bad starts this season, figured to be due for a good one after allowing six runs in 4 1/3 innings last Saturday.
Santana had his knee-buckling breaking pitches working well and threw strikes early in the count.
The only run Santana allowed was a home run to Matthews leading off the third.
Santana needed to be sharp because the JetHawks were struggling with Van De Weg until breaking through in the sixth.
Sturdivant, who had two doubles to give him 11 hits in four games, drew a leadoff walk. After Jose Cruz Jr. struck out and Monahan moved Sturdivant to second on a failed attempt to bunt for a hit, Marquez rolled a single up the middle, driving in Sturdivant to tie the score, 1-1.
Villalobos then looped a ball that barely eluded the dive of right fielder Randy Curtis. Marquez scored from first base.
JetHawks 3, Rancho Cucamonga 2
Rancho Cucamonga: 001 000 001 -- 2 9 1
JetHawks: 000 002 10x -- 3 8 0
Van De Weg, Erdos (8) and McKinnis; Santana, Pearce (7), Szimanski (9) and Sealy.
W--Santana (2-2). L--Van De Weg (2-2). S--Szimanski (3).
2B: RC--Melo, Brinkley, Matthews; J--Sturdivant 2. HR:RC--Matthews (1); J--Sealy (4).
Records: JetHawks 15-7; Rancho Cucamonga 8-13.