Jonathan Charboneau found his rhythm at the right time.
That was huge boost for his Lodi High baseball teammates. In Wednesday’s Tri-City Athletic League against Lincoln at Zupo Field, Charboneau had the game-winning hit that led to Lodi defeating the Trojans 7-6 in eight innings. Lincoln led 6-1 after four innings.
“I was thinking ‘hit the ball, do not get out,’” said Charboneau of his game-winning hit. “Just a great feeling. I knew that we had the chance.”
For the second time in three days, Lodi (2-0 in the TCAL, 9-2) has beaten Lincoln (0-2 in the TCAL, 6-3) by one run in their best-of-three series. On Monday in Stockton, the Flames posted a 4-3 win over the Trojans.
In the bottom of the eighth inning of Wednesday’s game that was knotted at 6-6, Lodi lead-off hitter Logan Morita walked and moved to second base on Logan Stout’s sacrifice bunt that went down the third base line for the Trojans’ first out.
Lincoln looked like it would send the game into the ninth inning, as another grounder led to its second out of the eighth. Then Lincoln coach Pete Pijl chose to internationally walk Lodi’s No. 3 hitter in Angelo Zazzarino, who had grounded, flew, struck out and grounded out in his previous at-bats.
Now with Zazzarino at first and Morita still occupying second base, Charboneau stepped into the batter’s box. On a 2-1 count, Charboneau sent a curve ball deep to right field that fell to the ground and rolled near the fence. That allowed Morita smiling as he touched home plate, where his teammates greeted him to set off a wild celebration.
“I got really excited,” Charboneau said. “I kind of thought that he (Lincoln right fielder) would catch it. Lincoln always has good fielding.”
Lincoln led 6-3 entering the bottom of the seventh inning. But Lodi tied the game at 6-6 in the bottom with one out. Stout walked and moved to second on Zazzarino’s grounder to the middle of the infield. After the Flames’ Omar Plascencia walked, Charboneau (3-for-5, three RBIs) singled to left field that drove home Stout to make it 6-4.
“His last at-bat, he hit the ball pretty good,” said Lodi coach Hobie Schultz of Charboneau. “He’s one of our top hitters right now.”
The Flames’ Colton Smithhart and Ian Watanabe drew back-to-back walks, as Plascencia scored when Watanabe reached first base. Then Fidel Ulloa was hit on his left elbow that led to Charboneau trotting home to tie the game.
Smithhart (3-for-3 and an RBI) tripled to the right-center field wall in the bottom of the sixth inning, and scored on pinch-hitter Mason Osborn’s grounder that made it 6-3.
“We’ve had some guys coming off the bench that have had some quality at-bats,” Schultz said.
In the bottom of the fifth, Lodi chipped away at Lincoln’s lead off one hit. Jeffery Werder singled to left field. Schultz went to his bench again; pinch-runner Myles Lozano ran for Werder.
After the Flames loaded the bases again — Morita was hit by a pitch and Stout walked — Lozano scored when Plascencia was also hit by a pitch to make it 6-2.
Defense played a role for Lodi in the fifth and sixth innings, where it recorded two double-plays.
“There were signs that we looked good, and there were signs that we didn’t look good,” Schultz said. “One thing about these guys is that they don’t give up; from first pitch to last pitch. That was the key to this game.”
Lincoln scored what its final two runs of the game in the top of the fourth. Zach Bartles singled and Skyler Lewis reached first base on a Lodi infield error, and both later scored on sacrifice flies from Erik Quinzon and Tommy Sanchez.
Lodi scored its first run in the bottom of the third inning to make it 4-1. Ulloa had an infield single, and after advancing to second on a fielder’s choice and third on a bunt single by Morita, Ulloa scored on a passed ball to the backstop.
The Trojans scored a run in the top of the third for a 4-0 lead. In the bottom of the first, Lincoln used two hits that included a bunt single to jump out to a 3-0 lead.
Lodi and Lincoln each had 10 hits in the game. The Trojans’ main hitter was Sam Bones, who went 3-for-5 and Bartles 2-for-4.
Contact Mike Bush at email@example.com. Follow on Twitter: @MBushLodiSports.