Through the first five innings of Thursday’s CIF Southern Section Division 1 first-round playoff game, the Mira Costa baseball team didn’t have an answer against JSerra starting pitcher Gage Jump.
Jump, a sophomore, had a no-hitter and eight strikeouts entering the sixth.
After a lead-off walk to Jonah Storey, Jump recorded his ninth and 10th strikeouts and was replaced as his pitch count rose near 100.
The Mustangs (22-8) saw that as new life, and Nick Carpino singled to drive in Storey, who had moved to second on a passed ball. After a single by Kyle Karros, Dylan Dennis worked the count to 3-2 and drove a double down the left-field line to drive in Carpino and Karros, sending Mira Costa to a 3-2 victory.
“I just got a pitch I could handle,” Dennis said. “I did alright with it. Honestly, I was looking at it as an opportunity, not as a burden, I was just seeing and reacting.”
Jared Karros, who replaced starter Christian Bodlovich on the mound with one out and a runner on second in the top of the sixth, pitched a 1-2-3 seventh to get the victory.
Mira Costa will host Notre Dame of Sherman Oaks in the second round Tuesday.
“The biggest thing is I loved Jonah Storey’s at-bat (to lead off the sixth), to find a way on in that situation,” Mira Costa coach Keith Ramsey said. “When you get to a point in any game, when a pitcher starts going long and as a coach you’re thinking pitch count, where he’s at, is he going to tire, third time through the order and things like that. I just think Jonah’s at-bat created stuff where other guys were going to come up in an RBI situation.”
JSerra coach Brett Kay stood by his decision to remove Jump.
“We have depth on the mound behind him,” Kay said. “I have every faith in those guys in those types of at-bats. I made a decision, I’m sure it’s not popular among a lot of people right now, but the bottom line is it’s not worth it for a young sophomore’s arm.
“I just didn’t want him to go to 110 (pitches). I knew he would be in the 90-100 (pitch) range and 95 was it. He got that second out and I’m a big believer that we need to get off the field with two outs.”