BASEBALL: Miners’ pinch runner brings it home for overtime win

El Diamante subs in senior Josh Headley to pinch run when down by one for game-tying run and overtime win

VISALIA — After tying the game in the top of the seventh, the El Diamante Miners scored three runs on the Mt. Whitney Pioneers in the 10th inning for their second league win.

The El Diamante Miners defeated the Mt. Whitney Pioneers 6-3 after 10 innings on March 28. The Miners were trailing the Pioneers 3-2 until the seventh inning, when pinch runner Josh Headley scored a single run to tie the game. The Pioneers had several chances to come back, but the Miners took it home in the tenth inning, sealing the win by three runs.

“Guys kind of started to believe that we could get it done,” El Diamante head coach Andrew Riddle said. “And they all kind of came together and decided that they were capable. And they went out and they achieved it.”

The Miners were down by one run when the seventh inning began and only had one chance left to come back for the win. With senior Headley on base, junior Caleb Silva got a hit, sending Headley home for the tie. Headley was subbed in as a pinch runner and with him stealing second, the Miners were in position to tie the game, sending it to overtime. The Pioneers made their best effort to score another run in the bottom, but the game went on into overtime.

After two more scoreless innings and a pitching change for the Pioneers, the Miners caught a break just as the rain began to pick up. The Pioneers had already gotten two outs, but pitcher Javier Altamirano had let a few batters walk. With two runners on base, senior Dominic Allen sent senior Nick Senn home from third base for the winning point. Then senior Trevor Hampel had a huge double that sent two more runners home to solidify the 6-3 score.

“They started to hit the ball and timing us up and we just gotta do a better job making every play,” Mt. Whitney head coach Nick Yockey said.

The Pioneers slowly pulled ahead with one run in each of the first three innings. The Miners scored their first two in the fourth and fifth innings, but it wasn’t until the seventh that they were able to tie the game. While the Pioneers were able to hang on through the eighth and ninth innings, the Miners took off on offense in the tenth.

The Pioneers were 4-7 and the Miners were 7-4 heading into the game, so the Miners were favored. But the Pioneers were one run away from pulling off a win over the Miners. They’re currently competing for second and third place in the East Yosemite League and the Miners are slightly ahead with a 2-1 league record compared to Mt. Whitney’s 2-2 league record. The four Visalia schools were moved over to the EYL in the summer of 2022 to join Monache and Porterville, but the Miners are still confident.

“We know Mt. Whitney, we know Redwood, we know Golden West,” Riddle said. “These are teams we’ve seen before. In a way it feels the same. Just with a couple of different opponents.”

The Miners will face the Pioneers again on March 30 at home, hoping for a repeat of their victory.

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