Santa Maria-Righetti's defense blinked in the 11th inning, and Frontier will play for the CIF Central Section Division I baseball championship because of it.
With two outs in the top of the 11th, a Nick Phair ground ball went between the legs of Righetti third baseman Zak Taylor. Kobe Silva scored the go-ahead run from second base, closer Kris Anglin, a Cal State Bakersfield commit, finished the job and the No. 8 Titans edged the No. 4 Warriors 2-1 in a semifinal at Righetti that began Wednesday afternoon and ended Wednesday night.
Frontier will play No. 6 Clovis on Saturday at 7:30 p.m. at Fresno State. Clovis defeated No. 2 San Luis Obispo 7-5 at San Luis Obispo on Wednesday in the other Division 1 semifinals.
Frontier scored in the 11th without getting a hit. Righetti did the same in the seventh, the last regulation inning.
"In playoff baseball, it comes down to who executes the best and they executed better than we did," said first-year Righetti coach Kyle Tognazzini.
Quigley Espionla singled off Anglin with one out in the 11th, just the third Righetti hit of the game. Anglin got a pop out for the second out after pitching a one-hit complete game in the 1-0 win against No. 1 Clovis-Buchanan in the quarterfinals last Friday.
Ryan Delgado delivered a walk-off single to give the Warriors a 3-2 win over No. 5 Liberty in the quarterfinals last Saturday, but Anglin got Delgado swinging Wednesday night to end it.
Delgado, Righetti's starting shortstop, swapped positions with Righetti starting pitcher Caleb Dulay with two outs in the 10th. Delgado got the last out of that inning, but the Titans broke through in the 11th.
Neither Frontier nor Righetti scored on a base hit in their marathon semi, and neither team scored an earned run.
"I don't recall anything like that before," said Tognazzini.
Frontier's Elijah Pascual raced home in the sixth for the first run after a low Dulay fastball went off catcher Andrew Gonzalez's glove for a passed ball.
Frontier starter Austin Puskaric hit Righetti lead-off batter Isaiah Navarro with a pitch in the seventh. The Titans tried to get Navarro at second on an Espinola sacrifice bunt but missed, and everyone was safe.
With one out, the runners moved up on a passed ball against Frontier catcher Tyler Weiner, and the Titans had to settle for the out at first on a slow Delgado ground ball that third baseman Tristin Tatum fielded.
After the regulation seven innings, the Warriors were still in it despite having done just about nothing against Puskaric, another Cal State Bakersfield commit.
"We had our chances," said Tognazzini.
Righetti had a golden one in the ninth. With one out Anglin, Frontier's starting left fielder, lost an Espinola fly ball in a tricky sun and the ball fell in for a double, putting runners on second and third with one out.
A promising-looking Taylor drive hooked and wound up in foul ground, a few feet wide of the left field line. The Titans ultimately walked Taylor intentionally, loading the bases.
Frontier reliever Brennan Fleischer, his team's starting left fielder, got a force at home and another ground out to get out of the inning.
"This game went the way the others for us in the playoffs have - strong starting pitching, good defense and our offense doing just enough," said Frontier coach Garrett White whose team out-hit Righetti 7-3.
The Warriors failed to capitalize on a gem by Dulay.
"Dulay pitched great," said White. "He filled up the strike zone. "(Puskaric) just ran out of pitches (thanks to the 110-pitch limit), and so did Dulay."