Ramona entered the second to last week of the regular season trailing Westview High School by one game in the tight Valley League race.
After a marathon 15-inning game that took four and a half days to decide a winner and a road trip to Westview, the Dawgs still trail the Wolverines by a game with a week remaining in the season.
Ramona finishes the season with a series against Oceanside High School. Westview will conclude league action against cross-town rival Mt. Carmel.
The Dawgs still have a chance to retain their Valley League crown, but their destiny is not in their hands.
Ramona High School and Westview High School played a four-hour, 14-inning baseball-a-thon at Rocky Lawler Field last Tuesday. There was no loser.
The game was called because of darkness. It will go into the records as a 5-5 tie. Anybody who was at the game and every student/athlete who played in the game ended up a winner.
The game had it all: great defense, errors, timely hitting and strikeouts with men in scoring position. Both teams came up with key defensive plays and clutch hits. Both teams played the game with heart and class. Both teams got stellar pitching performances from their bullpens.
It was a great high school baseball game.
Ramona took an early lead. Alex Muren reached first with two outs in the first on a fielder’s choice. Smiley Willeford reached on a fielder’s choice and both runners advanced on an error. Blake T. Drake delivered a two-out, two-RBI, two-base hit. The Wolverines rallied for a run in the third inning.
Ramona scored two runs in the bottom of the third. Brady Wilson led off the frame with a hit. Jackson Willeford reached on a walk. Muren reached on another walk.
Then a controversial balk was called on Westview’s pitcher, Christian Carter. After a prolonged debate, the game continued under protest by Westview. With one out, Mike Studley delivered a sacrifice fly to give the Dawgs a 4-1 lead.
The Wolverines took the lead on a grand slam home run by Kyle Shaver in the fifth to take a 5-4 lead.
Ramona tied the game in the bottom of the seventh. Muren doubled. With two down, Studley delivered a clutch RBI single to tie the game.
Studley relieved starter Cody Willingham on the mound in the sixth inning. Willingham went six innings and gave up five runs on nine hits.
Studley pitched a gem in relief. The senior right-hander shut out the Wolverines for eight innings scattering four hits while striking out nine. He only surrendered one walk.
He got help. Muren made a running catch to steal a extra base hit and stop a rally. Brady Wilson made some great plays from his position at short.
Ramona committed an error in the top of the 14th inning to give Westview runners on second and third with one out. Studley fanned the next two batters to retire the side.
“We could have lost it in the 14th, but we did not allow an error to beat us,” said Coach Dean Welch. “Studley took control and pitched us out of a jam. It must have been a great game to watch. It was a bear to coach.”
At first it was believed that the tie score would stand, but it was later decided that the game would be continued on Saturday.
On Saturday, there was a winner. Willingham returned to the mound and pitched a scoreless 15th inning.
In the bottom of the frame, Wilson legged out an infield hit. Wilson advanced to second base on Jackson Willeford’s infield out. Muren was awarded an intentional base on balls as the Wolverines elected to pitch to Willeford.
Willeford brought smiles to the Ramona fans as he delivered a clutch RBI single to drive in Wilson and put an end to a game.
Ramona could not hold a four-run lead at Westview High School and lost to the Wolverines 7-4.
Erik Ernst got the start and had his longest outing of the season. The junior right-hander went five innings plus and limited the Wolverines to five hits. He gave up four runs and struck out six and gave up four walks.
“Erik did a good job,” said Welch. “His pitch count got up there and he got tired. He pitched well and gave us a chance to win. We did not make some key plays in the sixth inning and that cost us the game.”
The Dawgs had a 4-3 lead going into the sixth inning.
Studley relieved Ernst with a runner on second and no outs in the sixth inning. Studley, who went eight innings on Tuesday, gave up three runs on four hits. Rocco Hemphill finished the inning and gave up one hit and fanned one Wolverine.
The Willeford Brothers drove in three runs. Jackson had two hits and one RBI. Smiley was 1-for-3 with a two run double.
Muren drove in one run. Wilson had a 2-for-3 outing. Blake Drake, Kyle Gray and Ian Hunt all went 1-for-3.