PBB: Carpinteria wins in bottom of 9th, earns playoff berth

Carpinteria pulled out a dramatic 5-4 walk-off baseball win over Malibu in nine innings to finish in a five-way tie for first place in the Frontier League.

The Warriors (6-4 in league) later received the league’s No. 3 CIF playoff berth via a league lottery. Malibu and Santa Paula will play off on Friday for the No. 1 spot while Fillmore and Santa Clara vie for the second berth.

Nick Walker’s hit drove in Duncan Gordon from third base with one out for the game-winning run against Malibu. The Warriors forced the game into extra innings when Sal Delgado drove in Kevin Stein to tie the score at 4-4 in the bottom of the seventh.

“This was a sweet win,” Carpinteria coach Pat Cooney said. “We had a poor start to the game. Players had a negative mentality and were hoping for help from the umpires and opponents. We stopped the energy early enough and tried our best to turn it back into a game. Mo Sanchez set the tone with his calm approach and then guys started to make plays — diving plays, smart plays, hustle plays and patient plays. Nick Walker and Kevin Stein had exceptional games.”

Malibu scored three unearned runs off Carpinteria starter Mo Sanchez.

But Sanchez kept his composure and Carpinteria responded with a comeback. The Warriors scored a run in the fourth as Stein hit a lead-off double and came on a hit by Kelsey. Stein had three hits, scored twice and had a RBI.

Carpinteria added singles runs in the fifth and sixth innings before Delgado’s game-tying hit in the seventh.

Delgado and Walker pitched two-plus innings of scoreless relief, with Walker becoming the eventual winner.

“Clearly, there was a great deal riding on each game this week,” Cooney said. “The players did a great job of ignoring the many playoff scenarios and just working through one action at a time. Now they have a league title and a playoff berth as their reward. They deserve all of the credit. They have achieved the goal of becoming a good team.”

Carpinteria’s overall record is 11-11. The CIF playoff pairings will be announced on Monday.