Legends Clinch Playoffs

bethell throw
It was an unusual day Friday at Cal Poly Pomona as the Inland Valley Pirates (11-12, 9-11) took the field with the Long Beach Legends (33-20, 12-5) in a triple header.

The first game was a completion of an extra innings game started on July 9 at Long Beach City College. The Pirates tied the game at 6 apiece in the ninth inning and the game was called due to darkness.

It took two innings to complete the game as Cody Yates tossed two innings, struck out three and notched the victory. Chris Schaaf came through in the clutch with the walk-off RBI single scoring Vince Lawrence to end the game 7-6 in the 11th inning.

Game two started immediately after with only a 15 minute break. The Pirates defeated the Legends 9-1.

The Pirates jumped out to a three-run first, two-run second and one-run third to grab a 6-0 lead.

That was all Taylor Valentine needed as he pitched a complete game, striking out 11, while only allowing one unearned run on four hits.

In the first, Anthony Virgen, Grady Espinosa and Greg Espinosa each ripped one RBI.

In the second, A.J. David belted in Nathan Virgen and Jorge Ortega tacked on another run.

Nathan Virgen plated Grady Espinosa in the third as it became the Espinosa and Virgen show.

The Virgen brothers finished 6-for-7 with three runs and two RBI. The Espinosa brothers finished 5-for-8 with two RBI and one run.

Inland Valley extended its lead in the sixth to 8-0 when David cranked his second RBI of the game.

Long Beach finally stopped the bleeding in the top of the seventh as Avery Flores knocked in Matt Chavez to make it 8-1.

The Pirates answered with yet another run in the bottom half of the seventh extending the margin to 9-1.

Game three started around 5 p.m. The Legends needed just one win to clinch a berth in the playoffs and they took advantage of their second opportunity defeating the Pirates 4-1.

Max Bethell was dominant allowing one hit and no runs in seven innings.

The final game of the series started much like the second game that was finished first on Friday afternoon. Goose eggs were the norm on the scoreboard for the first five innings as Bethell and Justin Arceneaux were locked up in a pitcher’s duel.

Long Beach finally got on the board with a two-out rally in the sixth inning. Schaaf, the hero from the first game, drew a walk. Dylan Nault blasted a double down the right field line. Jeff Guzman cranked a two-run single scoring both Schaaf and Nault to give the Legends a 2-0 lead.

The Legends added two more runs in the seventh as J Rhet Montana and Schaaf brought in Daniel Catalan and Ray Patchen respectively to double the score to 4-0.

The Pirates fought until the bitter end. They scored one in the eighth when Robert Wiley had an RBI single.

Inland Valley takes on ATH Academy in a doubleheader tomorrow. Long Beach will host the Riverside Rebels at 2 p.m. tomorrow. The game will air live on sccbaseball.com.

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