Santa Ana Mater Dei, ranked No. 1 in Southern California and No. 1 in the nation in high school baseball, faced a severe challenge on Friday night from UCLA-bound junior pitcher Griffin Canning of Santa Margarita.
For eight innings, the Monarchs couldn't score against Canning. And when Santa Margarita pushed across a run in the top of the ninth inning on an errant throw after a bunt, Mater Dei seemed in big trouble.
In the bottom of the ninth inning, the Monarchs got a leadoff single by Jeremy Martinez. He made it to third with two outs. Canning was one strike away from victory. He worked a 1-and-2 count on Brian Soper, but on Canning's 111th pitch, Soper delivered a run-scoring single to right field to tie the score.
Out went Canning and in came Bill Heisler. Soper stole second. Then Davis Tominaga gave Mater Dei a 2-1 victory when he reached first base on a high throw as Soper was able to race home from second and beat the throw to the plate with a perfect slide.