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Hampel Unloads on Sylmar, 7-5

High school baseball: He snuffs out bases-loaded, none-out rally in sixth and Poly wins.


VAN NUYS — Poly High pitcher Joe Hampel was facing a disaster.

Sylmar scored three runs in the top of the sixth inning and had the bases loaded with none out as Poly protected a two-run lead.

Poly Coach Chuck Schwal visited the mound and elected to let Hampel, a senior left-hander, pitch out of the jam.

Hampel responded, getting two strikeouts and a popup and the Parrots held on for a 7-5 nonconference victory Friday night at Birmingham High.

"He had to fight his way through that," Schwal said. "If he's going to pitch at the next level, that's the kind of situation he's going to have to learn to endure."

Hampel (1-2) struggled with his control, walking seven in 6 2/3 innings.

Sergio Rodriguez retired Mike Garcia for the final out of the game to earn his first save.

Hampel walked two and allowed a single in the sixth inning with Poly protecting a 6-1 lead. Two infield errors let Sylmar score three runs to trim the Poly lead to 6-4.

Then Schwal made the long walk to the mound.

"I thought he was coming out to bring in [Rodriguez]," Hampel said. "I was surprised, but I was happy that he left me in. When you get in a bases-loaded jam with no outs, you have to work harder."

Hampel struck out Alex Chavez looking, retired Brian Tabura on a popup to second base and struck out Marco Estrada swinging.

"We haven't been swinging the bats real well," Sylmar Coach Gary Donatella said. "[Hampel] got some big outs in big times. That means we have a lot of work to do."

Hampel allowed five hits and five runs.

Poly (3-3-1), which has struggled, collected nine hits and turned three double plays.

"The team worked too hard for me to give in," Hampel said. "[Schwal] gave me another chance."

The Parrots scored three runs in the second and three in the fourth. Shortstop Miguel Gomez hit a two-run double in the second inning and Jamie Perez had a run-scoring double in the fifth.

Starter Mike Garcia (1-2) of Sylmar (4-3) allowed four runs on six hits in 2 1/3 innings.

Schwal was pleased with Poly's offense. The Parrots have a team batting average of about .150.

Eddie Baeza, Perez and No. 9 hitter Danny Flores each had two hits for Poly.

The Parrots also hit several balls hard at Sylmar fielders.

"That was a relief," Schwal said. "To finally get some runs and get some guys swinging the bats again.

"That's the kind of game we needed."

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