Bonita Turns in Ruthian Performance

March 10, 2009
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Behind the arm and bat of Jason Plowman, Bonita defeated Crescenta Valley 10-6, to even the Bearcats' record to 1-1 in the early season.

Behind the arm and bat of Jason Plowman, Bonita defeated Crescenta Valley 10-6, to even the Bearcats' record to 1-1 in the early season.

It may be too early to talk about turning points, but with one swing of the bat with the Bearcats trailing 1-0 in the top of the fourth against Crescenta Valley, Bonita’s Jason Plowman officially launched the 2009 Bearcat baseball with a Ruthian blast that landed in the Henderson field tennis courts far beyond the centerfield fence. The two-run blast gave Bonita a lead it would never relinquish as the Bearcats (1-1) cruised to a 10-6 victory for their first win of the year and their first in the Glendora Tournament.

Excluding a couple of scratch hits to lead off the pivotal fourth by Corey Hare and Jio Mier, Bonita had been handcuffed by Crescenta Valley’s Sean Elliot, who no-hit the Bearcats through the first three innings. Even with one out in the top of the fourth and Mier on third, things didn’t look any more promising. Plowman was suddenly down in the count, 0-2. Amazingly, he fouled off five consecutive pitches. Then still deep in a hole, Plowman caught a letter-high fastball, driving it deep into the night, a shot heard around the world, or at least throughout the Crescenta Valley dugout.

“After my first at bat, I kind of figured out what he [pitcher Sean Elliot] was doing and tried to put the ball in play,” Plowman said. “Yeah, I was down 0-2, but I still had my eye on the ball. Then he threw a fast ball right there, and it was out.” And Bonita was finally out of its funk.

In inning No. 5, Bonita really came alive. Brian Tuttle got things started with a solid single into right with one out. Ryan Henley got aboard on an error, advancing Tuttle to third. Hare also got aboard on another Crescenta Valley miscue, allowing Tuttle to score. Mier promptly spanked a sharp single to center, plating Henley to make the score 4-1, and bringing up Plowman.

As Plowman was approaching the plate, a scout in the crowd was overheard saying, “If this kid hits another one out, I’m signing him.”

This time, Plowman belted a three-run homer over the right centerfield fence. As far as we know, Plowman is still on the Bonita roster. With first base open and two outs, some in the crowd were scratching their heads as to why Crescenta Valley elected to pitch to Plowman.

Lost in all of Plowman’s fireworks was his solid pitching performance. Through the first five innings, he allowed only a solo home run by Crescenta Valley’s Joe Sedano. In the sixth, the tiring right-hander was touched for a couple of runs, but the contest seemed clearly out of hand at that point. Plowman finished with five strikeouts, including striking out the lead off hitter in the first three innings when the contest was still in doubt.

In the top of the sixth, Henley smashed a two-run homer, giving Bonita three home runs on the night and giving ample proof that Bonita’s early-season hibernation was over.

Proving that no lead is safe in high school baseball, however, Crescenta Valley clawed back in the bottom of the seventh on a three-run home run by Elliott Surrey to make the score, 10-6, and the team promptly loaded the bases to bring the tying run to the plate. Moving to the mound from his shortstop position, Mier promptly took the ball from Knott and squelched the comeback bid by striking out Crescenta Valley’s final batter on three straight fastballs.

Besides Plowman’s pyrotechnics, there were several other standout performances in the Bearcat line-up. Third baseman Terry Paredez made several dazzling defensive plays that kept Bonita in the game before its offense could heat up. Also, sophomore Matt Gelalich scratched out a couple of infield singles and made a brilliant diving catch in the seventh that helped short-circuit Crescenta Valley’s last-ditch rally.

“Plowman looked great,” Coach Knott said, assessing the team’s performance after the game. “He was all-world out there today. He had good command, he was throwing his fastball well, and, of course, he hit those two home runs. That first one was an absolute bomb.”

But Knott knows more than most that it will take far more than the contributions of his proven players to win a late-spring championship.

“Brian Tuttle did a nice job of bouncing back after a tough first game,” Knott added. “Matt Gelalich, stealing a base, just doing what he can, making a great play out in center. Corey Hare hit the ball well to get a rally going — hit a ball well to right field, hit a ball well to third base. Evan Highly hit the ball well, and did pretty well behind the plate.”

Did Knott see enough to be optimistic about the upcoming schedule after dropping the season opener to Northview, 4-3.

“If we hit the ball, we can do a lot of good things … a lot of really good things,” Knott said. “How well we hit the ball will be the test. I think we can pitch with anybody, and I think we can play defense with anybody.”

That next “anybody” is Murrieta Valley, this Thursday, March 13, at 7 p.m. at Azusa Pacific University.




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