With the Bay League title on the line, Mira Costa baseball coach Keith Ramsey gave the ball Thursday to Jared Karros and didn’t take it back.
Karros, a senior, probably wouldn’t have given it up anyway.
“I told the coaches that Jared (Karros) has worked hard all year,” Ramsey said. “I’ve taken him out of other games and I feel like he’s earned this opportunity.”
Karros allowed consecutive doubles to start the seventh against rival Redondo and the Sea Hawks went on to score two runs in the inning to cut Mira Costa’s lead to one.
Karros then struck out the next two batters to finish a 3-2 victory for the Mustangs that clinched the Bay League title for Mira Costa (21-8, 9-1).
Redondo (20-9, 8-2) had moved into a tie for first place Tuesday with a 14-12 win over Mira Costa.
“I wanted it no matter what,” Karros said. “I was super fired up. Probably a little too hyped up in the beginning, but I just had to slow myself down and keep throwing strikes.
“He (coach Ramsey) told us we’ve worked our whole year for this game. … Bay League champs, baby.”
Karros and Redondo starter Jake Thau matched zeroes for the first three innings.
Mira Costa didn’t have trouble getting runners on, but bringing them home was a problem, at least early on. The Mustangs left the bases loaded in the first and third innings.
“We had to do better than that in a playoff game,” Ramsey said. “Obviously, this felt like a playoff game. Baseball is a hard game sometimes and I’m proud of them for continuing to battle.”
In the fourth, the Mustangs took advantage of two Sea Hawks errors, eventually loading the bases. Kyle Karros and Dylan Dennis had consecutive sacrifice flies for a 2-0 lead.
“We just kind of made a mistake on bunt coverage, which cost us an out,” Redondo coach Andy Diver said. “In hindsight, if we get the out, it probably leads to one run.”
Nick Carpino singled in Aidan Aguilar, who had doubled to lead off the inning, to give Mira Costa a 3-0 lead.
The Sea Hawks opened the seventh with doubles by Christian Dicochea and Drew Dalquist, putting runners on second and third. Theo Forshey and Patrick Stark followed later with RBI singles, cutting the lead to 3-2.
Karros then put an end to the threat.
He struck out seven and allowed two runs on seven hits.
“Knowing that I was able to finish this off, this high-pressure situation, I know I can do it from now on,” Karros said.
Both teams will await the release of the CIF Southern Section playoff pairings on Monday. The Mustangs will be in Division 1 and the Sea Hawks in Division 2.
“I told them enjoy the weekend off, they haven’t had a weekend off in four months,” Diver said. “Get healthy and find out Monday who we play and get ready to win one game at a time and make a run in the CIF playoffs.”