By David A. Willauer
Vista CA— The Poway Titans and Vista Panthers met up for the second time in five days during the CIF- San Diego Section, Bottom Bracket, Baseball Tournament. Vista took the first game, on Friday, 12-9. Poway defeated La Jolla 5-2, on Saturday to earn the rematch with the Panthers.
In the Tuesday afternoon match-up, the Vista High School Baseball squad, under second year head coach, Ricky Imperiali (47-18 with the Panthers) found a way to defeat the Titans scoring 3 runs in the bottom of the 7th and eliminating the Titans by a score of 3-2 in a thrilling hard fought contest.
The Poway Titans (20-13) got off to a quick start scoring 2 runs in the first inning. The first was a solo home run by leadoff batter Blake Wagenseller. The second was solo shot by clean-up hitter, Kevin Bristow.
Poway held their 2-0 lead until the bottom of the 7th. The Panthers(27-6) rallied as seventh batter in the line-up, Manny Ramirez reached first base on a strikeout passed ball. That was followed with back to back singles by Andre Schweizer and Alex Medina to load the bases. Leadoff hitter Matt Ornelia took advantage with a walk off triple to rightfield, knocking in 3 for the win.
“The pitch was an inside fastball “said Matt Ornelia on his game winning hit, “ I was waiting for the ball to come to me. I thought to myself, all that I need to do is look for a good pitch. I reacted and I hit it hard, a line drive down the rightfield line.” Ornelia went 3 for 4 in Tuesday’s winning effort.
Winning pitcher, Ivan Luna threw for 7 innings giving up 4 hits, 2 earned runs, 2 walks with 4 strikeouts: “Coming into today’s game, after giving up 2 runs in the first, I liked the way our squad responded. It wasn’t all wasn’t me but I pitched good innings. After trailing 2-0, I mainly focused on locating my pitches. My curve ball was one of the my strong pitches and I used it to set up the count in my favor. Then I used the fastball, my other pitch, to get their batters out.”
“My teammate, Matt Ornelia, has been in situations like this before for our squad when we won the 2016 Lions Tournament. He (Matt Ornelia) did the same thing which was key for us today.”
Coach Ricky Imperalia said “The last 3 batters in our lineup reached base but the key part of the inning was that seventh batter striking out and reaching first base on a wild pitch.” added the Coach, “Today we had a little different lineup. Andre Schweizer, a sophomore, was batting 8th, he came up big and got a key base hit.”
“Ivan Luna has pitched well for us all year. He has worked hard and is a good kid. He doesn’t panic against a team like Poway. He kept his composure throughout the game today.” said the Coach. Luna, a sophomore is left handed thrower.
“We swung the bats well with 5 line drives in the ballgame and Senior Matt Ornelia has hit the ball well for us all season.” Ornelia has been on the squad since he was a freshman.
“This is my first trip in my career to the CIF Finals. I can’t believe it.” said the Coach.
The Vista Panthers are making their first trip to the CIF Finals since 2012 where Rick Lepire lead them to a CIF Section title.
The Panthers will take on the winner of todays match-up between Granite Hills and Torrey Pines, Friday June 3 at USD Fowler Park, 7:00pm. Torrey Pines defeated Granite Hills, on Tuesday, 3-1 to force todays rubber game.