Lompoc used two home runs and a 10-strikeout performance by Dylan Bailey to beat Arroyo Grande 7-4 Thursday in the District 65 10-11-12 tournament.
Unbeaten Lompoc advances to the championship game Monday at 5 p.m. against Santa Maria Northside.
The ball park at Nipomo Community Park struggled to hold the ball with each team smashing two home runs. But Lompoc was able to create enough offense to overcome some tough bounces in the game.
Lompoc had two runners hit by ground balls that would have been singles and scored runs. And Arroyo Grande's Kaden Tynes hit a three run home run to tie the game at 4-4 after runners reached on passed balls on strikeouts.
But, after the win, head coach Brandon Brickey Sr. could smile at the resiliency of the young ball players wearing blue and white.
"That is what is great about these guys," he said. "They play tough and they go until the end (of the game). They make it happen. Everything up against them and they make it happen."
Lompoc appeared poised for a big first inning with Bailey on third and Brandon Brickey Jr. on first with no outs. But a hard-hit grounder by Elijah Bobo smacked into the leg of Brickey, sending him crashing to the ground and out by rule.
Assistant coach Ray Hirzel carried the clearly in-pain Brickey to the dugout, but the player who teammates call "Little B" stayed in the game.
Bailey later scored in the inning on a Jordan Scott single but the momentum to score more was lost.
Brickey started on the mound for Lompoc to save some pitches for the team's ace, Bailey. But the plan ran into the bat of Arroyo Grande's starting pitcher Korben Reardon, who smacked a no-doubter to center field.
The score didn't stay tied for long. Scott led off the top of the third inning with a home run to left field that cleared a tree behind the fence. Two outs later, Tanner Kingsley was hit by a pitch — Gabriel Ruiz came in as a substitute — then Elijah Perkins and Christian Tenorio singled to load the bases.
Bailey drove in Ruiz and Perkins with a single to give Lompoc a 4-1 lead.
Then the bizarre struck Lompoc again. The movement on Bailey's pitches not only confounded Arroyo Grande's hitters, but his catcher as well.
Two Arroyo Grande runners reached base on third strikes that skipped to the backstop. Tynes hit his opposite field home run with two outs to tie the game.
Bailey would shut out Arroyo Grande for the next 2 2/3 innings before he was pulled to allow him to take the mound in the championship game. Ruiz struck out the final batter of the game for Lompoc.
"He was lights out," Brickey Sr. said of Bailey.
Christopher Topete broke the 4-4 tie in the top of the fourth inning with a line-drive shot to center field after Scott was hit by a pitch.
"He came in and hit a clutch home run," Brickey Sr. said. "He's one of my greatest hitters and we need him."
Scott added the seventh run for Lompoc when he was singled home by Gabriel Hirzel in the fifth inning.
Lompoc's second situation with a runner hit by a grounder occurred in the sixth inning. Perkins and Tenorio each singled and, after a passed ball, stood on first and second with no outs.
But a shot by Bailey hit Tenorio just above the waist to stop a potential two-run single. Lompoc lost its chance to add more more runs but Arroyo Grande couldn't build a rally with their final three outs.
"We have good pitching and made some good plays," Brickey Sr. said. "It's what we do. Our team is ready and stoked. It's been a couple years of heartache and we're ready to go in this championship game."
Be the first to know
Get local news delivered to your inbox!