McWhorter Hits Walk-off HR as Riptide Beats Healdsburg

Updated: July 26, 2018

July 26, 2018
Fullerton, CA

Mason McWhorter (Georgia Southern) hit a walk-off solo home run to lead off the bottom of the ninth inning as the Orange County Riptide beat the Healdsburg Prune Packers 6-5 today at Fullerton College. McWhorter had struck out in all four of his prior at bats in the game and, to add even more drama to his walk-off shot, the Packers had scored four times in the eighth inning on a solo home run by Brian Arias (San Antonio) and a three-run homer by Dane Tofteland (Indiana St) to take a 5-3 lead, only to have the Riptide tie the score in their half of the eighth when, with two outs and the bases empty, an error and two walks loaded the bases for Steve Curry (Georgia Southern), who drove in the tying runs with his game-high third hit of the game. Hayden Pearce (Pacific) started on the mound for Orange County and scattered eight hits to allow only one run while striking out eight in seven innings. The run Pearce allowed came in the first inning when Healdsburg took the early lead when a pair of one-out singles by Ben Sanderson (UC Santa Barbara) and Arias put runners on first and third and Jake MacNichols (Santa Clara) hit a sacrifice fly. From that point on Pearce retired 13 of the next 14 batters he faced and pitched around a pair of singles in each of his last three innings to not be scored upon again. Healdsburg, which like Orange County, has already clinched a berth in the CCL Playoffs, utilized seven pitchers in today’s game, presumably fine-tuning their pitching staff for a playoff run. Eric Parnow, who started and was the only Healdsburg pitcher to throw more than one inning, Nick Candelari (Texas Tech) and Griffin Hattingh (Houston) held the Riptide scoreless through four innings, but Orange County took their first lead in the game in the fifth inning when Josh Nicoloff (Columbia) singled with one and scored when Luke Bandy (Dallas Baptist) hit a two-run home run to put the Riptide up 2-1. Orange County added to their lead in the sixth inning when Aaron Simpson (Ball State) singled, advanced into scoring position on a wild pitch and scored on a Chase Sebby (Ball State) RBI-single to make the score 3-1. Brandon Ivey (Texas), who pitched the ninth inning for the Riptide afer Jack Noble (Oregon) and Jacob Parker (Georgia Southern) each allowed two runs in the eighth, pitched around a leadoff single to hold Healdsburg scoreless and setup McWhorter’s game-winner. Orange County’s win today assured that they will meet Healdsburg in the first game of the CCL Playoffs at noon on Saturday at Sparky Anderson Field on the campus of Cal Lutheran University in Thousand Oaks. The determination of which team will be the No. 2 seed and thus have home team honors will be determined by the outcome of Healdsburg’s game against the Conejo Oaks tomorrow. If Healdsburg wins they will have a better final winning percentage than Orange County and thus have the home team advantage. If Healdsburg losses to Conejo, Orange County will have the advantage.

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Elsewhere around the CCL today:

Pasadena, CA

Dalton Ney (Lee) and Gabe Chavez (San Bernardino) doubled and scored, and Tristan Peterson and Jacob Jenkins (MidAm Nazarene) hit RBI-singles to lead the Arroyo Seco Saints to a 3-2 win over the Academy Barons tonight at Jackie Robinson Stadium. Ney’s leadoff double in the second inning was immediately cashed in by Peterson’s RBI-single to get the Saints even with the Barons after the Academy scored once in their first at bat when Desmond Gates (West LA JC) led off the game with a single, advanced on a Daniel Harris (Eastern Kentucky) single and scored on a sacrifice fly. Peterson then scored and put the Saints up 2-1 one out later in the second inning when Jenkins hit his RBI-single. Colin King (Regis) who started on the mound for Arroyo Seco, retired seven of the next eight batters he faced after allowing the run in the first before turning the pitching duties over to Wyatt Kelley (New Mexico St) to start the fourth inning. Kelly surrendered only one hit and struck out two over the next four innings, allowing one unearned run in the fifth inning when Bruce Martin (Stetson) walked to lead off the inning, stole second base and scored on a pair of Saints errors. JD Russomano (Corban) and Joey Steele (USF) pitched a hitless, scoreless eighth and ninth inning, respectively, to close out the win. Andy Rosales (El Camino) was the starting pitcher for the Academy, allowing eight hits while striking out three in five and a third innings and surrendered all three Saints runs, the last in the fifth inning when Chavez led off the inning with a double, was advanced to third on a groundball to the right side and score what proved to be the winning run on a Cameron Briggs (UC Davis) sacrifice fly. Christian Lucio (Eastern Kentucky), a late two-way threat for the Barons, pitched the last two and two-thirds innings scoreless for the Barons, notching four strikeouts.

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