CORONA — Corona senior infielder Ethan Hill ran around in circles before accepting his fate.
Hill was mobbed by his teammates near second base and was the recipient of a Gatorade shower moments after his walk-off double with two outs in the bottom of the 10th inning lifted the Panthers to a 2-1 victory over Sherman Oaks Notre Dame in a CIF Southern Section quarterfinal baseball game Friday afternoon.
Corona (22-9) will host Division 1 defending champion JSerra (22-9) in a semifinal game Tuesday.
The Panthers managed only one hit against Justin Lee and Levi Sterling through nine innings, and Sterling retired the first two batters in the 10th inning. Jared Saldana ended Lee’s no-hit bid with a two-out double in the fifth inning and legged out an infield single with two outs in the 10th.
Hill fouled off a 2-2 pitch and then poked a double into the gap to bring Saldana home with the winning run.
“I was looking fastball all the way. I got a slider and just put the bat out there and found the good spot on the field,” said Hill, Corona’s No. 9 hitter who began the day at second base and ended it at shortstop.
“I just did what I could do with the pitch, and I ended up it hitting it a lot harder than I thought.”
It was Corona’s fourth walk-off win of the season. Hill also delivered a walk-off hit in a 4-3 win over Santiago.
“Ethan was a JV player last season. What an amazing moment for a senior,” Corona coach Andy Wise said.
It was a heartbreaking ending for Notre Dame (28-3), the division’s top-seeded team and the No. 1 team in the most recent Calhisports.com state rankings. The Knights certainly had more chances to score during the game, but they stranded 11 runners and had three other runners picked off first base.
“I feel like we were threatening the whole game,” Notre Dame coach Tom Dill said. “So many missed opportunities. We just didn’t get the big hit at the right time, and we let a good team hang around.”
Lee and Corona’s Ethan Schiefelbein, both UCLA-committed players, waged a pitchers’ duel early in the game, and the great pitching continued after the aces exited. Schiefelbein allowed five hits and struck out seven in six innings, while Lee allowed the one hit and fanned five batters in five-plus innings of work.
Schiefelbein struggled with his command early and issued back-to-back walks with one out in the third inning. Notre Dame took advantage and grabbed the lead when Adam Shlesinger scored on a groundout by Colin Brown.
Lee was cruising along but plunked two consecutive batters to begin the sixth. Dill handed the ball to Sterling, the team’s third baseman and closer. Sterling retired the first batter on a groundout, but Corona leveled the score when Anthony Murphy scored on a sacrifice fly by Josh Springer.
Notre Dame squandered a couple of chances to regain the lead late in the game, as the Knights left the bases loaded in the eighth inning and stranded two more on the bases during the top of the 10th inning.
Billy Carlson started the day at shortstop but ended the game with three innings on the hill.
“I feel like I’m better when runners are on base,” Carlson said about his ability to escape jams in two of those innings. “I feel like I have more adrenaline going and I take it to another level.”
Sterling struck out seven and retired the first 14 batters he faced before allowing those final two hits.
Dean West, Ryan Limerick and Madden Ocko had two hits apiece for the Knights.
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