Southwest High junior shortstop Victor Bernal hasn't been getting the hits lately, technically, he didn't get one either in his only at-bat Tuesday in the play-in round of the CIF-San Diego Section Division IV playoffs in El Centro.
What he did do was put the ball in play with a strike to shortstop that took a fortunate bounce for the Eagles, giving them a 4-3 win in 10 innings against The Bishop's School to advance into the first round of the double-elimination tournament.
"I was just trying to do my job," said Bernal. "I was trying to put the ball in the right side-middle and I got lucky."
The play went down as an error on the Knights shortstop as senior outfielder David Romero scored the game-winning run.
"Today's game was a hard-fought victory," said Southwest first-year head coach Matt Redden said. "It's nice to get a CIF win for my first time."
Southwest ace senior lefty Robert Beltan was on the mound for the Eagles. He had a shaky first three innings where he gave up three earned runs but soon settled and pitched a gem. He pitched seven innings for the no-decision, had 11 strikeouts, gave up two hits, seven walks and hit one batter.
He was relieved by junior Jesse Castellanos who pitched three innings for the win. He struck out three and gave up no hits.
"They went up on us in the third against Beltran who had been tough all year," Redden said.
The win advances the No. 6 Eagles into the first round of the double-elimination tournament to face No. 3 Kearny at 3:30 today in San Diego.
On Tuesday, Beltran up one hit, three walks and a run in just the first inning. The Knight's got another two runs in the second before Beltran shut out the Knight's the rest of the game.
Southwest answered in the third when junior Arturo Garcia scored from third base on a wild throw from the Bishop's catcher to second base while Southwest's senior Juan Carlos Gomez tried to steal.
The Eagles had bases loaded with one out but couldn't cause any more damage.
Southwest continued its onslaught in the fourth when junior Humberto Montiel scored off a single by senior Ricardo Vargas.
The Eagles finally tied it in the fifth when senior Gilbert Cano hit a solo home run, his second of the season.
"It felt great," Cano said of his home run. "The coaches had told me that they were going to pinch run for me if I got on base so I had to get a strike or a triple to stay in the game."
He also sent two other pitches to the warning track but just missed the fences.