Given the suspension of athletics in the county, the Daily Journal decided to dive into our 20-year archives to bring readers some of our favorite stories over the years.
MAY 16, 2019 — It first started sprinkling during the second inning of the Sacred Heart Cathedral-Aragon Central Coast Section baseball game in San Mateo.
The teams kept playing.
Down 3-2 in the bottom of the fifth, the Dons scored three runs for a 5-3 lead as the sprinkle turned into a drizzle.
The teams played on.
The Irish would tie the game with two runs in the top of the sixth as the steady drizzle began to come down harder.
And still the teams played on, tied at 5-all.
The Dons loaded the bases in the bottom of the sixth, but came up empty as the rain came down harder.
Sacred Heart Cathedral loaded the bases in the top of the seventh against Aragon reliever Adam Bever, who was first delayed as he had to dig the mud out of his cleats and then when Aragon manager Lenny Souza added water-absorbing material on the mound to combat the water that was beginning to puddle around the field.
And still they played on.
Bever ended up wiggling out of the jam and after adding two bags of the water-absorbing material around home plate, the Dons took their last at bats. When the inning ended on a strikeout, the umpires finally suspended the game.
It was a fitting end to a day during a season in which rain wreaked havoc.
“I think it was fair,” Aragon manager Lenny Souza said about the decision to suspend the game. “There was relief that neither of those teams was going to lose because of the conditions. The kids want to keep playing, but it’s our job to protect them.”
As dramatic as the game was through the first 5 1/2 innings, the drama was taken up a notch in the bottom of the sixth. Aragon’s Drake Kenneally led off the inning with a bloop single to shallow center. He moved up a base on a Thomas Calvo sacrifice bunt. Following a groundout for the second out of the inning, Cam Grant was intentionally walked and No. 3 hitter Conor Hourigan also drew a walk to load the bases and bring up clean-up hitter Matt Mukai. On a 2-2 count, he lifted a foul ball behind the plate. SHC catcher Leo Kikuchi made a staggering, bending-backward catch to end the inning.
The Irish took that momentum to the plate against Bever, in relief of Hourgian, who went the first six innings.
Bever got into immediate trouble. Although he was spotting his pitches well, he wasn’t getting the calls. He gave up a single to Lucas Kelly to lead off the seventh before Dan Hinderliter drew a walk on a full count.
Bever struck out the next batter looking for the first out of the inning, but after getting ahead of Chris Rodriguez 0-2, Bever ended up walking him to load the bases.
But then Bever buckled down. He went 3-2 to Conner LaChapelle before notching his second strikeout of the inning on a full count. He then went 3-1 against pinch hitter Jaime Gomez, but Bever bounced back to get the strikeout swinging and end the threat.
“[Bever] was a man,” Souza said. “Bever didn’t get the start. He would have loved the start, but he was ready when we needed him.”
Aragon, the No. 5 seed in Division II, knew it was in for a game when SHC, the No. 12 seed, took a 1-0 lead in the top of the first when Raphael Cervantes’ two-out double drove in Kelly, who was on after being hit by a pitch.
But Aragon showed it was up for a battle as the Dons needed just two batters to tie the game. Shortstop Jace Jeremiah led off the bottom of the first by banging a double to left. Grant followed and hit a booming shot to right-center field. He thought he got all of it, but instead settled for an RBI double. Grant would later score on a fielder’s choice error to give the Dons a 2-1 lead after one.
‘These kids fight. They’re not afraid to square off against a team,” Souza said of his squad. “When we got those [two doubles to lead off], I was like, ‘OK. Here we go.’”
The Irish scored single runs in the third on a single to center by Cervantes to tie the game at 2-all and scored again in the fourth on a LaChapelle sacrifice fly for a 3-2 lead.
But Aragon battled back with three runs in the bottom of the fourth, sending nine batters to the plate in the process. Grant drove in Kenneally with a sacrifice fly, Mukai drove in Calvo with two-strike single to center and Jeremiah scored from third on a wild pitch to put the Dons up 5-3.
SHC would tie the game in top of the sixth when pinch hitter Dave Briseno ripped a two-run triple to right, just missing a three-run home run.
Both teams had their chances to take the lead over their final at-bats, instead settling for a suspended game.
“It was a fun, back-and-forth game,” Souza said. “That’s what CCS is all about. You get these matchups and everybody cares a lot and get these great games. They’re fun games. They’re a fun thing to be a part of.”
The teams returned to Aragon two days later, with Sacred Heart Prep scoring in the top of the eighth to post a 6-5 win to end the Dons’ season.