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SAN JOSE — Landon Stump was pitching Tuesday for Live Oak, so the guys with the radar guns showed up behind home plate.
Stump, the senior right-hander committed to UCLA, pitched and also hit Live Oak to an 8-3 victory over Leigh — an outcome that put Leigh’s plans to celebrate a division title at home on hold.
Leigh went into the game with a two-game lead over Live Oak, Pioneer and Branham in the Blossom Valley Athletic League’s Mt. Hamilton Division with two games left. The Live Oak win cut Leigh’s lead to one game over all three after Pioneer beat Leland 1-0 and Branham defeated Sobrato 11-1. Leigh and Live Oak will play again Thursday in Morgan Hill.
Stump was consistent at 92 miles per hour with his fastball, topping out on occasion at 93 and 94. Leigh got to him for two runs in the first inning. And then after falling behind 3-2, tied it up in Stump’s final inning, the sixth.
Leigh left-hander Colter Hanson also went six innings and kept the Longhorns right there, on the cusp of clinching a title. But he was taken out after 95 pitches and the roof fell in on the Leigh bullpen in the seventh when Live Oak exploded for five runs — three on a bases-loaded double by Stump, who also had a two-run double in the fourth.
“My pitching wasn’t as good as I would like, but came through hitting,” Stump said.
Despite his college commitment, pro scouts are evaluating him for possible inclusion in the Major League Baseball draft.
“I wouldn’t say I’m leaning either way,” Stump said. “Just see what happens the next few months.”
Live Oak (16-9, 11-6) scored in the top of the first on a sacrifice fly by Ethan Lopez. Leigh (17-9, 12-5) came back with two in the bottom half. Nate Miller doubled in a run and scored on Dom Panella’s single.
Stump’s two-run double in the fourth made it 3-2 Live Oak. Leigh tied it in the sixth when Miller got his third hit in a row, and second double of the game, to lead off. The next two batters, Ollie Obenour and Panella, both laid down successful bunts with Miller scoring.
The Acorns blew it open in the seventh. The first three batters walked to load the bases. Diego Castellanos singled up the middle to plate two runs and then Stump chased home three more with his bases-clearing double.
Leigh will need to bounce back with a win on Thursday to capture an outright title. But it won’t be easy. Live Oak’s other ace, Aidan Keenan, will be on the mound. Keenan, a Stanford commit, is 3-1 with a 0.96 ERA, 15 hits allowed in 39 innings with 66 strikeouts.
“We’ll do what we need to do to get ready, offensively and defensively,” Leigh coach Drew Marino said. “It will start with a good day of practice tomorrow and then we’ll go down and battle at Live Oak on Thursday.”
The Acorns are two-time defending Mt. Hamilton Division champions. A win Thursday would give them a piece of another title, one that could be shared by two, three or even four teams.
“We’ll play our hardest on Thursday and try to sweep them,” Stump said.