TEMECULA >>> Charlie Follin provided the first exclamation point during the sixth inning. His teammates added several more of them for emphasis.
Follin’s two-run home run gave the Vista Murrieta baseball team its first lead of the game Wednesday. That blast opened the floodgates, as the Broncos turned a pitcher’s duel into a 13-3 victory over Chaparral to clinch the Southwestern League championship outright.
Chaparral pitcher Andrew Mosiello was throwing a gem against his former club, allowing one unearned run and two hits through the first five inning Wednesday.
Vista Murrieta coach Gary Matlock gathered his players before the fifth inning.
“Andrew Mosiello was throwing a heckuva game, and his off-speed pitches were giving us problems,” Matlock said. “I told them to sit on that fastball, even if it’s 0-2.”
Follin certainly heeded his coach’s advice, as he jumped on a first-pitch fastball and launched it over the fence in center field to give Vista Murrieta a 3-2 lead.
“When I saw the fastball first pitch, I took a hack at it,” Follin said. “I thought it was just a line drive up the middle at first, but I then looked up at saw it flying out there.”
Vista Murrieta (19-6-1, 11-1 in league) was far from done. Mosiello left the game after plunking a batter and allowing a single to Zach Rodriguez. Mikey Romero jumped on Hunter Messerre’s first pitch — a fastball — and doubled home two more runs. The Broncos scored nine runs in the inning, the last one coming on an RBI triple by Follin.
Anthony Tulimero capped Vista Murrieta’s late scoring flurry in the seventh inning with a three-run blast to left field that extended the Broncos’ lead to double digits.
“We were more patient and selective at the plate at the end,” Matlock said.
It could have been a tumultuous season for Vista Murrieta after previous coach Matt Mosiello was let go in October. Matlock, the program’s freshman coach before becoming a varsity assistant last season, was asked to take the reins.
“At that moment, I was the only coach for 55 players and their families,” Matlock said. “I told them I love them and we will work through all of this and move forward. They bought into the process and have worked hard, and it’s been rewarded.”
Nick Sims scattered five hits and allowed just one earned run over five innings to improve to 7-0.
Chaparral (16-7, 6-6) started the season with 10 consecutive wins but now are scrambling to secure a postseason berth. The Pumas dropped into a tie for third place with Temecula Valley, one game behind Great Oak. Chaparral wraps up a series with Vista Murrieta on Friday afternoon and plays Great Oak twice next week.