Tustin and Foothill are in the midst of their league baseball races.
But the two squads took a break from that Monday night, finishing up the Newport Elks Tournament with a special game at Angel Stadium as part of the Halo Classic, one of 12 high school games being played at the home of the Major League squad.
Tustin scored three runs in the first inning off starter Carson Herrell and went on to capture a 5-2 victory over Foothill in front of an estimated 500 fans, who sat on their lower level at the stadium and were admitted free of charge by the Angels. There was no charge for parking, either.
“It was a good night all around; a good night for Foothill and a good night for Tustin,” said Tillers Coach Charles Chatman. “The crowd was great on both sides and it was high energy and a good baseball game. We just happened to get lucky on the right side.”
Tustin (11-10-1) struck early.
David Dorado and Rodney Boone III walked and Matthew Elizalde reached on a bunt single to load the bases. Michael Oliveras delivered a sacrifice fly for the first run. Roger Vasquez, a freshman, followed with a two-run double down the line to put the Tillers ahead, 3-0.
“I was just thinking about bringing the runs in and coming up clutch and I did it,” said Vasquez, who had 15 family members cheering him on. “It was a lot of fun.”
Tustin starter Derek Mata pitched three shutout innings before giving way to Dwayne Angebrandt II in the fourth inning.
“He’s been really good for us,” Chatman said of Mata. “He’s been a spot starter. He stays down in the zone. We lost a lot of one-run games late, and most of them have been his games.”
Foothill (12-7) broke the shutout in the fifth inning. Peter Alvarez singled and came home on a double by Trevor Lukkes.
Tustin got some insurance runs in the sixth inning on a two-run single by Derek Soto to make it 5-1.
“We don’t have a lot of seniors and Soto is one of our few,” Chatman said. “He hasn’t played the last two years. He’s a football guy. He’s been injured. He wanted to play his senior year and he’s been working his tail off. I think he can play at the next level.”
Foothill caused some anxious moments for Chatman and his team in the seventh.
An RBI single by Trevor Worden drove in a run and the Knights had the bases loaded with two outs. But Kyle Hoskins, who came on to pitch in the seventh, got Cameron Cougnet to fly out to end the game.
“We dug ourselves a deep hole, but we at least gave ourselves a chance and put ourselves in a spot…