Through the first four innings on Saturday afternoon, the Wilcox Chargers looked prime to win its first round CCS playoff game against the Santa Teresa Saints. Wilcox scored twice in the bottom of the second and carried that 2-0 lead into the top of the fifth. Starting pitcher Jared Cabildo cruised through four shutout innings and he even helped himself out on the offensive end.
It was Cabildo’s scorching double that knocked home the Chargers’ first run. Matthew Tiendas led things off with a single. Aiden Dean reached on a fielder’s choice and then Cabildo launched his double which scored Dean. With two outs, Ryan Hauck worked an epic 11-pitch at bat and beat out an infield single allowing Cabildo to score the second run.
The Saints would finally get to Cabildo in the fifth, but Cabildo would induce a clutch inning-ending double play with the bases loaded, preventing the tying run from scoring. Santa Teresa would eventually tie things up in the top of the sixth. A single and an error put two on with nobody out, two batters later a sacrifice fly evened the game up at 2-2.
After a scoreless bottom of the sixth, Cabildo stayed in the game in the seventh and induced the first two batters to pop out. After a bloop single and a walk to the next two batters, Wilcox Skipper Matt Huth pulled his starter in favor of a lefty-lefty matchup with Jacob Prettol.
The southpaw got his man out on three straight pitches: a called-strike fastball, called-strike slider and a swinging strike on a slider in the dirt to get the Chargers out of the jam.
In the bottom of the seventh, it appeared as if the Chargers would be able to walk this one off. Dean led off the inning with a solid line drive single to right center. Cabildo followed suit with a hard smash line drive to left field. A sacrifice bunt by Jesse Hernandez moved both runners up to second and third. Unfortunately for Wilcox, the next two batters would pop out and the game would go to extra innings.
An odd substitution rule with Hauck coming out of the game at catcher meant Prettol could no longer remain on the mound to pitch the eighth.
“I did, I was a bit surprised,” responded Prettol on if he expected to remain as pitcher for the eighth. “There was a rule with our subbing that made it where I couldn’t go back in the game when we switched catchers.”
Santa Teresa would take advantage in the top of the eighth, scoring three times to take a 5-2 lead. Wilcox would get a two-out double from No. 3 hitter Patrick Sanchez in the bottom half of the eighth, but Sanchez was left stranded as the Saints celebrated a come-from-behind victory.
Saturday was a double dose of heartbreakers for Wilcox as the varsity softball team also lost in extra innings, 13-12. Lauren Rodriguez led the way for the Chargers with a four-hit, four-RBI game in the loss.