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VALLEY / VENTURA COUNTY SPORTS

No Chill for Quartz Hill

Baseball: Rebels overcome Highland and the conditions with 12 runs in fifth and sixth innings to secure 17-13 Golden League victory.

March 28, 1998|PETER YOON | TIMES STAFF WRITER

QUARTZ HILL — If anyone had guessed what might happen when Quartz Hill High hosted Highland in a Golden League baseball game on Friday, they probably would have been wrong.

Nobody could have predicted Quartz Hill's 17-13 victory would be played in temperatures in the 40s, with the threat of snow very real.

There were three batters hit by pitches, six wild pitches and a steal of home.

With Travis Allen of Quartz Hill and Traviss Hodge of Highland, two of the league's top pitchers starting, not many would have guessed the final score.

"I thought coming in here we would have a 3-2 or 5-4 game," Quartz Hill Coach David Stradling said. "Those guys had [earned-run averages] of 2.1 and 2.2 coming in here. I wouldn't have believed they would get rocked for 21 runs or whatever."

It was 22, to be exact. Each starter allowed 11 runs, but neither figured in the decision in a game that had six lead changes and five ties.

The game-winning blow came in the bottom of the sixth inning when, with Highland leading, 13-12, Quartz Hill second baseman Johnny Smith hit a two-run home run off Jason Kubel (0-1).

The Rebels (7-1, 2-0 in league play) added three more runs in the inning, one when Richmond McMurray singled then stole second, third and home.

Highland (5-4, 1-2) held the lead three times.

A six-run fourth inning by Highland was answered with a seven-run fifth by the Rebels. A two-run sixth by the Bulldogs was answered with a five-run sixth by Quartz Hill.

"We never gave up," said Quartz Hill center fielder Brady Robbins, who had a single, a home run and four runs batted in. "We knew that the next inning we could get them back if we stayed focused."

When Highland took an 11-5 lead in the fourth, things looked grim for Quartz Hill.

Hodge got the first two batters of the fifth on strikes. But he hit A.J. Ryan with a pitch, walked Ryan West and hit Smith to load the bases. Two singles and a walk later, Hodge was gone and the lead was 11-8.

Rob Cowan relieved but couldn't shut down the Rebels.

Robbins and Carlos Hernandez hit consecutive two-run singles and Quartz Hill led, 12-11.

Highland took a 13-12 lead in the sixth, one run scoring on a wild pitch and the other on Jason Allec's single.

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