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Mater Dei baseball escapes with win over La Mirada in 11 innings in Boras Classic South

SANTA ANA — In a baseball game where miscues were more prevalent than clutch hits, Mater Dei pulled out a victory over La Mirada 3-2 in 11 innings Wednesday night in the Boras Classic South with the help of backup catcher Tre Arita.

With the bases loaded and two outs in the bottom of the 11th, Arita hit a ground ball to second base that was bobbled by La Mirada’s fielder and that allowed the winning run to score.

The ending was somewhat symbolic of a game where the teams combined for nine errors, although the contest started out as a tough battle between two of the top teams in CIF-SS Division 1.

Mater Dei (10-6) advances to the tournament’s semifinals to face Huntington Beach at 6 p.m. Thursday at Mater Dei High. Corona (14-1) will face Etiwanda (7-10) in the other semifinal Thursday at 6 p.m. at JSerra.

La Mirada (13-4) will play Maranatha at 3 p.m. Thursday at JSerra.

Mater Dei stranded the bases loaded three times prior to the 11th inning. Arita, who was an injury replacement, drove in two of the three runs for the Monarchs.

“I’m always ready to come off the bench,” Arita said. “Coach said to always be ready so when it was my time to go in, I was already ready.”

“He put barrel on the ball and good things happened,” Mater Dei coach Richard Mercado said. “That’s something we were failing to do earlier in the game. To play as poorly as we did on the offensive side and sneak away with a win feels really big for us.”

Wednesday’s game started out as a pitching duel between the two starters — sophomore Jacob Oropeza of La Mirada and Wylan Moss of Mater Dei.

Moss, a UCLA signee, pitched seven innings, allowed four hits with one run and four strikeouts. He allowed a solo home run in the sixth inning to Aiden Aguayo of La Mirada, who is also committed to UCLA.

“He had his fastball and slider working,” Mercado said. “That’s a really good ball club over there and he had to really grind. His effort gave us a chance later in the game.”

Oropeza pitched six shutout innings, allowed five hits, one run and had six strikeouts.

He allowed a game-tying home run to Washington commit Brandon Thomas in the seventh inning before exiting the game.

It was a contrast of styles between the two pitchers with Moss hammering the strike zone with fastballs that reached high into the 80-mph range. Oropeza only threw one pitch that exceeded 80 miles per hour Wednesday but was effective painting the corners with breaking pitches.

The relief pitching was also very good for both teams. Ryan Iveson of Mater Dei threw four innings and allowed one run on four hits with eight strikeouts.

Kaden Corns of La Mirada pitched 4 2/3 innings, allowed three hits with one earned run and struck out seven.

La Mirada took the lead in the 10th inning due to a trio of defensive miscues by Mater Dei. Leadoff hitter Tyler Primanto reached base via a throwing error and advanced to third when the Mater Dei catcher attempted to catch Primanto stealing, but nobody was covering second base and the ball sailed into center field.

Travis Friend grounded sharply to third base, but the Mater Dei third baseman bobbled the ball, allowing Primanto to score.

Mater Dei tied the game in the 10th inning when Arita hit a groundout with the bases loaded to drive in Antonio Ganem.

Corns escaped the inning with a fielder’s choice to home plate and a strikeout.

Mater Dei’s Braden Ruiz hit a single in the 11th inning and advanced to third after walks to Ganem and Ezekiel Lara. Arita’s game-winning grounder came with two outs and Ruiz scored on the play.

“We had a four-game losing streak coming into this (tournament),” Arita said. “So this is huge momentum for us going into playing Huntington tomorrow. They are a good team and it should be a good battle.”

Mater Dei beat Crespi 4-0 in the first round of the Boras Classic on Tuesday and La Mirada beat Rancho Bernardo by the same score in round one.

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