Kentifield, CA-- The College of Marin and Los Medanos College squared off on the diamond on Tuesday afternoon in a matchup that carried major implications for the Bay Valley Conference standings. Both teams came in riding recent hot streaks with the Mariners having won 4 games in a row, the Mustangs having won an impressive 8 straight contests. Los Medanos, tied with Laney atop the BVC standings, proved Marin an excellent opportunity to claw its way back into the chase for a BVC title.
The Mustangs struck first, taking a 2-0 lead into the bottom of the third. In a 1-0 count, leading off for the Mariners, Marcus Chiu blasted a home run into dead center field. Chiu's second homer of the year put the Mariners on the board and began what would become a back-and-forth battle.
The Mustangs held onto their 2-1 lead until the bottom of the 5th. Chiu, again starting things off for Marin, was hit by a pitch to bring up Matt Tarantino. Battling gusting winds in centerfield, Tarantino crushed a hanging breaking ball to left center that cleared the fence to put Marin on top for the first time Tuesday.
The Mustangs, who have relied more on their pitching than their bats to get them to first place in the BVC, responded with a three run top of the 6th to get back on top of Marin. With Los Medanos leading 5-3 going into the bottom of the 7th, the Mariners realized that time was running out in a game that could help propel to the top of the BVC.
Tarantino led off for Marin and displayed a nice opposite field approach by hitting a double to right-center. Ryan Schalch liked what he saw and followed suit with an RBI double to right center, bringing the game to a one run advantage for Los Medanos 5-4. Schalch scored later in the inning off of a potential double play ball mishandled by the Mustangsto tie the game at 5.
With the game tied at 5 Chris Hayman led off the bottom of the 8th for Marin with a soft line drive into left field. Marcus Chiu kept things rolling with a single to right that the speedy Hayman advanced to third base on. With the game on the line Los Medanos went to their third pitcher on the day, Jake Brandt, a typical starter for the Mustangs. Tarantino hit a RBI groundout to shortstop to put the Mariners on top for the second time on the day. Marin would leave two men on base when the 8th came to a close.
With Ryan Schalch out on the mound Marin had a chance to snap the Mustangs' eight game winning streak and extend their own streak to five games. Schalch got two quick ground outs to start off the inning. With a 2-1 count and two outs on the board Los Medanos put a grounder deep into the hole on the left side. Tarantino made a back hand stab at the ball, spun and fired to Brad Bussey at first base to try to close out the game. Bussey came off the bag, applied the tag (as pictured) and started to move towards the Mariners dugout to celebrate but the field umpire saw things differently. The runner was called safe and the inning continued with the tying run aboard. Jake Hom, the DH for Los Medanos, in a 2-2 count tattooed a ball to the right field fence. Scoring the tying run and keeping the Mustangs' hopes of nine straight wins alive. The very next batter lined one down the right field line to score Homs from second. After a strikeout ended the top of the ninth Marin came up to bat with its 7-8-9 hitters to try to extend the game. But Los Medanos would not give Marin another chance at victory, ending the game with a 1-2-3 inning, capped off with two strikeouts.
The controversial loss drops Marin to 7-4 in the BVC, and keeps Los Medanos tied with Laney at 9-2. The Mariners and the Mustangs meet again on Thursday the 31st.