The Santa Maria Indians were closing on making an early night of it when Jimmy Rivera stepped to the plate in the bottom of the fifth inning.
He later acknowledged he hit a pitch "toward the end of the bat." He hit it well enough for a two-run single.
Wes Pereira followed with an RBI single, and the Indians had a 10-0 win over the Central Coast Waves in the opening round of the National Baseball Congress Central Coast Section Tournament at Elks Field Thursday night.
The game was called after Pereira's hit because of the run rule. During the tournament, there is a 10-run rule after five innings and a six-run rule after seven except for the championship round. There is no run rule then.
The Indians are off until 3 p.m. Saturday when they take on the winner of the Santa Maria Stars-San Luis Obispo Blues game. The Stars and Blues are scheduled to play at 7:05 p.m. at the Blues' Sinsheimer Park. All other tournament games are slated for Elks Field.
The Waves play the Santa Barbara Cowboys at 3 p.m. at Elks today in an elimination game.
The tournament winner earns an automatic bid to the NBC World Series in Wichita, Kan. The Indians are the defending Central Coast Section champions.
The Stars defeated the North Coast Hammers 7-1 and the Blues shut out the Santa Barbara Cowboys 8-0 in other first-round games Saturday. The Blues-Cowboys game ended after the top of the seventh because of the run rule.
The loser of the 3 p.m. game Saturday must play again at 7. The championship round starts at 12 noon Sunday.
The Waves are a team consisting of mostly area Adult League players.
Was the run rule on Rivera's mind when he stepped to the plate Thursday night? "To tell you the truth, I was just trying to hit the ball," he said.
"I'd been out in front of everything." Rivera hit the ball well enough to go 2-for-3.
Santa Maria pitcher Adam Campbell (2-0) allowed one hit, Jeremy Duchanty's high hopper that went off Indians second baseman Pereira's glove for a single in the second inning.
"Campbell looked sharp," said first-year Santa Maria manager Bryn Smith.
The game was scoreless until the last of the third. An error helped the Indians to two unearned runs, but Santa Maria helped itself by getting four hits as it scored five times.
Brandon Miller, who's been on a tear lately, singled in the first two runs. A run scored on an error, and then Jeff Crabtree singled in two more.
Greg Swertfager, the Indians' leading hitter going into the tournament, snapped out of a mini-slump by hitting a two-run home run high off the screen behind the right-field fence in the fourth. Then came Rivera's and Pereira's RBI hits in the fifth.
"The offense came around after a little while," Smith said. "They didn't take these guys lightly. I don't want to disrespect any team that puts on the uniform. Any team that puts on the uniform, puts on the pants, is capable."
SM Stars 7, Hammers 1
The Hammers hammered themselves in the field. They matched the Stars' hit total - seven - but they made five errors.
They hurt themselves in the second with two miscues, and those led to three unearned runs in a five-run Stars second.
Beau Sweeny hit the first home run of the tournament in the top of the second to give the Hammers the edge. The lead was short-lived. Bobby Ferrel answered with a leadoff homer for the Stars in the bottom of the second.
Kory Langwell singled in the last two runs of the inning.
Langwell went 3-for-5 and singled in the last run of the game in the eighth. Chris Mathews went 2-for-5 for the Stars. Aaron Cervantes was 2-for-4 for the Hammers.
Stars second baseman Pat Dolan doubled and made a leaping one-out catch in the ninth.
SLO Blues 8, SB Cowboys 0
San Luis Obispo broke the game open with a six-run second.
Kyle Blumenthal hit a two-run single in the inning, and David Lamar followed with a two-run double.
Jimmy Van Ostrand, a former Hancock College player, hit a solo home run in the first inning.
Blues starting pitcher Rocky Roquet, and relievers Kirk Gross and Chad Rothford scattered five hits between them. Gross came in for Roquet in the fourth inning. Van Ostrand went 3-for-4 with two RBIs. Blumenthal was 2-for-4.
Jose Acevedo went 2-for-3 for the Cowboys.
July 2, 2004