Of the 11,588 who showed up Saturday at Angel Stadium for four Southern Section championship baseball games and stuck around for the Division I final, they were left with a breathless, hard-to-believe ending that featured Orange County's next millionaire, Tyler Matzek, turning in an unforgettable performance.
All the senior left-hander from Mission Viejo Capistrano Valley did was take the mound in the top of the sixth of a scoreless game with the bases loaded and two out against Huntington Beach Edison and get the third out on a pop up.
Then, in the bottom of the sixth, Matzek hit a home run down the right-field line for the game's only run.
Finally, in the top of the seventh, he loaded the bases with one out by hitting a batter and walking two others. He had no time to warm up properly and was struggling out of a stretch. He went back to a windup and struck out Chris Czerniachowski and Josh Lesinski to help Capistrano Valley (26-6) come away with a 1-0 victory.
"I'm feeling on top of the world right now," said Matzek (13-1), who didn't give up a run in 18 1/3 playoff innings while earning four of the Cougars' five victories.
"He's just a tremendous competitor," Capistrano Valley Coach Bob Zamora said. "People wanted me to go out there to talk to Matzek. I had nothing to say. He's ready to play professional baseball."
On Tuesday, Matzek is expected to be a top-10 pick in the amateur draft.
Edison (23-6) was left thinking what could have been. Arizona-bound pitcher Kurt Heyer was brilliant for much of the night, striking out five, walking none and yielding five hits. Kevin Chambers matched him, pitching 5 2/3 innings with three strikeouts, two walks while giving up six hits.
Capistrano Valley's defense, led by sophomore shortstop Kyle Hunt, kept making play after play.
"It was a fantastic high school baseball game," Zamora said. "The defense we played was phenomenal."
Edison and Capistrano Valley were the survivors of the brutally tough 39-team Division I tournament, and they made it here because of their talented two-man pitching rotations.
With Matzek and Chambers handling the pitching for Capistrano Valley and Heyer and sophomore Henry Owens doing the same for Edison, opposing teams couldn't find a scenario for victory.
It made Saturday's matchup even more intriguing. As inning after inning went by and the pitchers stayed in charge, batters kept seeking any kind of opening, putting pressure on with bunts. But no one was giving in, with both teams' defenses making plays.