The Hart Indians shocked the state Friday afternoon by defeating the Jserra Lions, the nation's #1 ranked team, by a score of 10-6 in order to advance to the Division 1 Southern Section final four.
It was a game of peaks and valleys for both teams, as each took turns fighting back to erase deficits. JSerra's two-run surge in the top half of the second inning was immediately matched and raised by a four-run Hart outburst in the bottom half. The Lions rebounded once again to tie the score at 5 apiece in the top of the fifth inning.
Once again, Hart responded to a JSerra jab with a haymaker of its own, exploding for five runs in the bottom of the inning, a rally that was highlighted by a bases-loaded double courtesy of junior catcher Robert Reeves.
This time, the Indians' lead was not to be relinquished. The Lions managed to garner one more run in the ensuing frame, but it was clearly Hart's day, as the Hart squad, which features 15 seniors, simply would not be denied in its home field finale.
Senior infielder Nick Hand led the charge for Hart with four hits, which included a gutsy infield single that required him to slide head-first into first base. The hustle play kept the inning alive for Hart, and culminated in Reeves' three-RBI double. The Indians were also keyed by a workhorse outing from senior starting pitcher Jack Ralston, who showed tremendous toughness while keeping the potent Lion offense in check for five innings.