TEHACHAPI -- It was all about one inning for the Tehachapi High Warriors on Wednesday afternoon.
Ninth-seeded Tehachapi rallied for eight runs in the bottom of the sixth to come from behind and beat No. 13 Madera South 9-5 in the Central Section Division III semifinals.
Tehachapi (20-9) will travel to Visalia to face Golden West on Friday in its bid for a third Central Section baseball title. The Warriors won Div. IV titles in 2002 and 2003, according to Tehachapi coach Chris Olofson.
"This is great preparation for that game," Olofson said. "We'll have to defend this brand of baseball a little better. It's a little different brand than we see in Kern County. The pitching is going to be better. ... This opened our eyes a little bit."
Madera South (11-19) was seeking its third straight road win in the playoffs and built a 4-0 lead after the top of the fifth inning.
Stallions pitcher J.J. Saavedra had great control and mixed his fastball and curve effectively through four innings. But he started getting his pitches up in the strike zone and his curve wasn't breaking as sharply in the fifth when Tehachapi collected three hits.
The Warriors only scored once in the inning, on Steven Nielsen's sacrifice fly. The rally fizzled when two Tehachapi runners were thrown out on the bases.
But it all came together in the sixth when Tehachapi sent 12 batters to the plate.
Freshman Sagun Gainey started it with a double to deep center field. After a popout, Blake Waters singled Gainey to third and Michael Llamas drilled a towering home run to the left of dead center field to tie it 4-4.
"I took that pitch earlier in the game," Llamas said. "I didn't want to let it go again. I hit it real well and it just kept carrying."
"Our big guys have kind of disappeared the last couple of weeks," Olofson said. "He redeemed himself. That one swing of the bat got us right back in the game."
Another booming double to deep center, by Davin Domingo, and a hit batter prompted a pitching change. After a popout for the second out, Michael Cole walked against relief pitcher Donovan Bertoncini to load the bases for No. 9 batter Nielsen.
Nielsen worked the count to 3-2, fouled off four straight pitches and lined a two-run single to center to put the Warriors ahead 6-4.
"All year long I've been waiting for that," Nielsen said. "The whole time I was waiting for one I could hit hard. ... He kept jamming me and I kept fouling them off. I finally got one I could hit and I drove it."
Said Olofson: "That was the best at-bat of the game, by far. He bats 9 and doesn't get a lot of respect. He finally got that base hit. It couldn't happen to a better kid. He works so hard during the year. A great at-bat for Steven."
A bases-loaded walk to Tyler Huebner and a two-run single by Waters padded the lead.
"That's baseball," said Madera South coach John Fernandez. "Credit to Tehachapi. At the end they did their damage with their at-bats. ...
"In this game, all it takes is one hit and then it can become contagious for a team. We've gone through that and that's what took place today."
Gainey reached base four times with the double, a single, a walk and a hit-by-pitch. Dominguez had a double and single and Nielsen had three RBIs.
Madera South's Bertoncini went 4-for-4 and scored three runs. Adriano Coronado went 2-fo-3 with three RBIs, including a squeeze bunt.