In his first two at-bats, Pitman High baseball captain Matt Carrigg struck out twice before exceeding all expectations in his final plate appearance of the game.
The pragmatic junior went up to the plate in the bottom of the seventh, down by one-run, looking to reach base safely.
Instead, on the third pitch, Carrigg blasted a game-tying solo home-run and the Pitman Pride went on to rally past Gregori, 4-3, on Wednesday night at the University of Pacific and into the double-elimination round of the CIF Sac-Joaquin Division I South tournament.
“I knew I was struggling, but I was struggling with the off-speed pitches and fastball hasn't been a problem and I saw a fastball up and swung at it,” Carrig said of the at-bat. “I thought it was gone. I was pretty darn sure. I just wanted to put the ball in play and got a little lucky I guess.”
Carrigg was also effective from the mound after picking up the win as he tossed 2 and 2/3 innings of shutout baseball after relieving starter Zach Wichman of his duties.
Wichman allowed three runs on three hits before being subbed out in the middle of the fifth inning.
Daren Finney eventually walked in the game winning run for the Pride after a five-pitch at-bat in the bottom of the seventh. Pitman also committed three errors for the first time since April 16.
“It was a whole team effort. We didn't play our best,” said Pitman head coach John Acha. “I really couldn't tell you how many guys I rotated and moved some guys out of different positions, but lots of good battling today from every guy against a strong Gregori team. I am very proud of these guys.”
It also marks the Pride's ninth win out of their last 10 contests, including a three-game winning streak.
Pitman has also marked the second most successful season in school history with wins at 23.
The last time the Pride had more wins was during the 2005-06 season when the team went 26-6-1.
“This year we're more balanced. We have speed, good defense, up and down the lineup have been coming up clutch,” Acha said about his team.
Gregori took an early 2-0 lead off Wichman with back to back RBI hits. Gregori starter Jefferson Gray pitched well for the Jaguars after allowing just two runs after going 5 and 2/3 innings before Cox took over and picked up the loss.
In the bottom of the third, the Pride's Anthony Encalade scored the first run which was followed by a Wichman RBI single up the middle gap to tie it at 2-2.
The Jags went up one in the top of the fifth after walking in the run but then Carrigg silenced the bats with his consistent pitching.
“It was great pitching from us. Zach [Wichman] tossed really well and he kept them under control despite that beginning, but then Matt came in to shut the door,” Finney said. “I am going to say the team overall kept their composure. Everyone in the dugout was going crazy and the environment really gets to you.”
Pitman's next game will be at 4 p.m. Monday against Beyer High at the University of Pacific.