On opposite ends of the Bay Area, high school baseball was alive, well, and equal parts exhausting and breathtaking Wednesday.
From Valley Christian’s Quentin Marsh hitting a two-out, two-run double off the left-field fence to tie the score in the visitor’s half of the seventh inning against Bellarmine to De La Salle rallying for four runs in the home half of the seventh to pull even with San Ramon Valley, the drama just kept thickening.
When darkness finally arrived, De La Salle had rallied again to tie the score in the eighth on Anthony Martinez’s two-run homer and won 10-9 on a bases-loaded walk in the ninth. The Spartans advanced to play host to Foothill in the East Bay Athletic League final Friday.
Valley Christian, ranked second by the Bay Area News Group, wasn’t able to finish off fourth-ranked Bellarmine in an epic West Catholic Athletic League semifinal.
But victory is within reach.
When the umpires called the game because of darkness about 10 minutes after 8 – more than four hours after the first pitch – Valley Christian led 9-6 in the top of the 12th and had the bases loaded with nobody out.
The game will resume where it left off but at a different location – St. Francis – on Thursday at 4 pm
About 45 minutes after the last out, the winner will play St. Francis in the final. The top-seed Lancers beat Sacred Heart Cathedral 8-3 on Wednesday.
Valley Christian coach John Diatte won his 700th game in the first round against Serra on Tuesday. He’ll have to wait at least one more day for No. 701.
“They’re all a challenge, especially in this league,” Diatte said. “It’s never easy.”
The 12th inning started a little before 8.
It went like this for Valley’s offense: Walk, Walk, sacrifice/error to load the bases, walk, hit by pitch, ball off the catcher’s glove on a force play at the plate.
Umpires meeting. Game suspended.
“It’s always a tough call for them,” Diatte said, referring to the umpires. “They have to worry about the kids’ safety. We’re all worried about the kids’ safety. It’s never an easy call.”
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Valley obviously has a huge edge when play resumes against Bellarmine. But St. Francis seemingly will have a decisive advantage in the final, no matter who it plays.
“Just the fact that we’ve played this many innings and they’re really good, they don’t need any help,” Diatte said about St. Francis. “They’ll have a huge advantage. We’re going to try to win this one (against Bellarmine) and close it out. Hopefully, we can do that.”
Valley and Bellarmine already had one marathon this season, a 10-inning, 5-5 tie in their first meeting.
In the second game, Bellarmine won at home 7-4.
Both had chances while it was daylight Wednesday but could not finish.
The Bells had the bases loaded with two out in the ninth and a 3-0 count. Somehow, Valley extended the game to the 10th.
Bellarmine was down to its last strike in the 10th when Ethan Payne beat out a throw to first on a grounder into the hole at second and Trent Malik slid home safely on a subsequent throw to the plate, evening the score 6-6.
Now it’s 9-6.
“Obviously we’re behind,” Bellarmine coach Nate Sutton said. “We’ve got nothing to lose. Come out and do our best and see what we can do.”
De La Salle-SRV highlights
Martinez drove in three runs and scored twice, Kai Smith had two RBIs and Connor Harrison had two hits and an RBI for third-ranked De La Salle (20-5).
Donny Crook had two hits and three RBIs, Nick Putnam went 3 for 5 and Evan Balingit and Jaron Nevarez each had two hits for No. 16 San Ramon Valley (15-10).
No. 1 St. Francis 8, No. 9 Sacred Heart Cathedral 3
St. Francis scored five runs in the second inning and breezed at home past Sacred Heart Cathedral in a WCAL semifinal.
Elias Duncan had three hits, scored twice and knocked in a run and Derek Gile doubled twice and drove in two runs to lead St. Francis (25-4).
No. 5 Palo Alto 8, Santa Clara 3
Palo Alto scored three in the first and four in the fifth to beat Santa Clara and advance to the Santa Clara Valley Athletic League De Anza Division championship game.
The Vikings will play host to Wilcox on Friday.
Charlie Bates went 3 for 4 with two RBIs, Dominic De Feo knocked in two runs and Andre Hyrkin and Danny Peters had two hits apiece to lead Palo Alto (23-5).
No. 18 Wilcox scored in the bottom of the eighth to beat Los Gatos 4-3.
No. 8 Foothill 3, No. 7 California 0
Jackson Flora scattered six hits and struck out eight and Jack Basseer homered to lift Foothill to a victory at home over California in an EBAL semifinal.
Trevor Harmon also knocked in a run for Foothill (21-4).
Nic Bronzini allowed three runs (two earned) in six innings for California (21-5).
Blossom Valley race
Live Oak, which entered Wednesday tied for first with Branham and Santa Teresa in the Blossom Valley Athletic League Mt. Hamilton Division, is now alone in first place with one game to go.
The Acorns won on the road over Willow Glen 12-8 while Branham lost at home to Sobrato 10-7 and Santa Teresa lost to visiting Leigh 8-3.
Friday, Live Oak will play host to Willow Glen, Branham will visit Sobrato and Santa Teresa will travel to Leigh.
Live Oak will capture the title outright with a victory or if Branham and Santa Teresa both lose.
No. 1 St. Francis 11, Sacred Heart Cathedral 0 (6 innings)
St. Francis is one win from a perfect 10-game run through the WCAL after it rolled at home over Sacred Heart Cathedral.
Brooke Deppiesse homered, doubled twice and drove in five runs and Lexi O’Gorman had three hits for the Lancers, who improved to 24-2 overall and 9-0 in the league.
Chloe Cummings allowed one hit and struck out 12 in five innings. Kate Munnerlyn pitched one inning.
SHC fell to 8-11, 1-8.
No. 4 Archbishop Mitty 10, Valley Christian 0 (5 innings)
Elon Butler had two hits, including a homer, and knocked in four runs and Corri Hicks had three hits and three RBIs to lead Mitty to a victory on the road over Valley Christian in WCAL play.
Kelly Zybura allowed four hits and struck out four as the Monarchs improved to 23-3, 7-2.
Valley is 15-10, 5-4.
No. 9 Los Gatos 12, Wilcox 3
Lynsey Chiala, Anna Bean and Addie Payne each hit a home run to power Los Gatos to a rout of host Wilcox in SCVAL De Anza play.