NEWHALL — For the first four innings of its Foothill League baseball opener, everything went according to plan for Canyon High. It had a two-run lead and its ace on the mound.
Little did the Cowboys know, Hart also was executing its strategy to perfection.
When left-hander Chris Seddon of Canyon tired, the Indians took advantage with five runs and went on to win, 8-3, on Friday at Hart.
Hart (8-0) started its fifth-inning rally with a one-out walk by Chris Valaika. Bill Susdorf singled to left and Chris Steck walked to load the bases.
Chris Giordano singled to left to tie the score, 2-2. Steck was thrown out at third on the play, but the damage was done. Coach Adam Schulhofer of Canyon (3-3-1) lifted Seddon, who allowed six hits and had three strikeouts.
"I worked the count to three and two and at that point I was just waiting for my pitch," Giordano said. "Seddon had been throwing hard, but he definitely lost some speed on his fastball.
"He was in a spot where he had to throw a strike and I was able to get around on it."
Pinch-runner Jason Brown advanced to second on a passed ball and scored the go-ahead run on a single by Curtis Brown. Mike Miller bunted for a single and Eric Ashbrook was charged with a balk to advance the runners.
Matt Moore was walked intentionally and Chris Gagnon doubled to increase Hart's lead to 5-2.
"I thought Chris [Seddon] pitched great, he just got tired and started leaving his pitches up," Schulhofer said. "He had only thrown about 80 pitches and normally he can go longer than that.
"But he was pitching on adrenalin and he was facing a good club. You have to give Hart credit. They did a good job making good on their opportunities."
Seddon (0-3), who has committed to Loyola Marymount, pitched well enough to win. He had three strikeouts and walked two.
Chris Burrows (3-0) of Hart pitched five innings, allowing four hits and two unearned runs while striking out three.
Susdorf had four strikeouts in the last two innings to earn his second save. He allowed an unearned run in the seventh when Jake Coash grounded out to score Josh Lagrotta.
"We have a lot of clutch hitters on this team," Giordano said. "That makes it hard on the opposing pitchers. This was an important game because we're sort of considered the team to beat and we wanted to send a message to the other teams that they'll have to play well to beat us."
Lagrotta's sacrifice fly in the third gave the Cowboys a 1-0 lead.
Canyon increased its lead in the fifth when Burrows threw wide of first on a bunt by Josh Schreck and Sergio Almanzar scored from second.