The Tehachapi baseball team felt slighted when the Central Section Division III baseball playoff seeds were announced a week ago.
The Warriors believed they were much better than a No. 9 seed.
Now there are at least two other teams that agree with them.
Fresh off a first-round victory over No. 8 Ridgeview, Tehachapi played the role of giant killers in the quarterfinals by knocking off top-seeded Garces, 4-3, at David A. Fanucchi Field on Friday.
Tyler Huebner scored the game-winning run in the top of the seventh inning, racing from first to home during a bizarre sequence of plays.
Tehachapi reliever Reid Feeley (3-3) pitched 1-1/3 scoreless innings to earn the victory. The junior right-hander came in for starter Sagun Gainey and snuffed out a sixth-inning Garces scoring threat before retiring three of of four batters in the seventh to secure the win, the Warriors' fifth in a row.
"I think we all think we got gypped on our seed," Feeley said. "I think we should have been higher but it feels great."
Southeast Yosemite League rivals, Garces and Tehachapi split their two regular season games. The Rams won the SEYL title, finishing one game ahead of the Warriors. However, Tehachapi drubbed Garces, 13-4, just before the playoffs began.
"We felt like we had a little injustice there so we really had something to prove but we knew it was going to be much tougher than last time," Tehachapi coach Chris Olofson said. "At our place (it was the) same score (4-3), flip sides, but I think it's finally our turn. I'm proud of my boys."
Because of several other upsets in the D-III bracket, Tehachapi will be at home for the semifinals. The Warriors will host No. 13 Madera South, which beat No. 12 Dinuba 6-4 on Friday.
Garces starting pitcher Tristan Hammans was the tough-luck loser. He pitched well after allowing two runs in the first inning and another one in the second.
The Rams matched the Warriors score for score early on, leaving the game tied 3-3 after two innings.
In the seventh, Huebner broke the deadlock. The .413 hitter led off the frame with a single up the middle. Moments later, with Blake Waters at the plate, Hammans unleashed a breaking ball that bounced in the dirt just before getting to Garces catcher Jake Sweaney.
Even though Sweaney kept the errant pitch in front of him, Huebner waited a split second and then took off for second.
Sweaney misfired into the outfield trying to get Huebner at second, who then headed for third.
Attempting to thwart the advance, Rams' center fielder Vincent Hudiberg unleashed a long throw that deflected off Huebner, allowing him to race home and score around the tag attempt of Sweaney.
"Once (the ball) hit the dirt, I just started running as fast as I could," Huebner said. "And then they made a bad throw at second so I just kept on going."
Garces' failed to convert on most of its best scoring opportunities, stranding 10 runners.
The Rams got nine hits off Gainey, including doubles by Sweaney, Hudiburg, Adam Hartwick and Jack Anspach.
But the freshman hurler was able to work his way out of trouble without giving up any runs time and time again.
"That's kind of been one of the things we struggled with this last part of the season," Garces coach Guy Dees said.
"We left too many guys on base. Had a chance to execute and just didn't get it done at times."
Gainey allowed 13 batters to reach base (nine hits, three walks, one hit by pitch) and struck out three.
In the Warriors' lineup as the leadoff hitter, Gainey also had a pair of singles a scored the game's first run.
Tehachapi had 10 hits, all singles.
Waters and Michael Llamas each had a pair of hits for the Warriors, who continue on in the playoffs feeling very good about their chances after beating Garces twice in eight days.
"That (first win against them) was huge because I think that it got the monkey off our back, knowing that we could put up more than a run or two an inning," Olofson said. "The confidence has been huge in these guys ever since."