With its back against the wall, the College of Sequoias baseball team pulled off a big comeback Sunday morning to defeat Oxnard 10-9 in an elimination game at the state Final Four championship in Fresno.
But the Giants' magic ran out after the morning, falling in the evening's semifinal 11-3 to San Joaquin Delta, which broke away from a 3-3 tie with eight runs in the top of the ninth.
"I thought we battled today," Giants coach Jody Allen said. "It ends on a sour note, but the kids battled all day and we asked a lot from them."
Tied 3-3 heading into the bottom of the eighth, the Giants put runners on the corners with one out and seemed to be in shape to pull off their second comeback of the day. But that wasn't the case as Rudy Navarro grounded into a double play to end the threat.
Riding the defensive momentum, Delta racked up four hits and shook the Giants defense for three errors to score eight runs in the top of the ninth.
The stinger came when the Mustangs already were up 7-3 and Andrew Urbis lined a bases-loaded single to center.
Two throwing errors — one at first base and the other at third — let everyone around the bases, including Urbis to boost the score to 11-3.
The Mustangs (35-10) will now take on Orange Coast (35-9) in a rematch of the 2009 state championship when the Pirates came out on top.
Sequoias lost 3-1 to Orange Coast College on Saturday, putting them in the first of two elimination games Sunday.
In the morning game, the Giants were down 7-2 after four innings.
Sequoias got to Oxnard starter Patrick Weigel in the fifth, when he started to struggle with his command. Navarro reached on a throwing error and Dillon Kelly was hit by the next pitch, followed by a Wyatt Champlin base hit. Chris Calistro and Blake Edmonson then connected for RBI singles to chase Weigel. Pinch-hitter Davy Vartanian then connected for a three-run double to tie the score.
The Giants scored three more unanswered runs, with Ross Feeley bunting in a run, while Navarro made it a 10-7 game with a sacrifice fly. Oxnard closed the gap to 10-9 with a pair of runs in the bottom of the seventh inning, thanks to four straight base hits.
While falling one win short of a trip to the state final, Edmonson and the rest of the team were proud to make a miraculous run in the postseason.
"It's rough. There's only one team happy at the end," he said. "We battled, but it didn't go our way this game. But we shocked the world this year. Nobody thought we'd win our league, our conference or ever make it this far in the postseason. It was awesome. It was the best year of my life."