LAFAYETTE -- There was excellent pitching, defense and even an unsung hero in Campolindo High's 2-1 baseball triumph over host Acalanes on Saturday afternoon.
The nine-inning victory keeps the Cougars in sole possession of first place in the Diablo Foothill Athletic League -- a game ahead of Alhambra and two up on Acalanes.
With two outs in the top of the ninth, Campolindo catcher Adam Remotto hit a chopper over reliever John York and beat out the throw to first for an infield single, as Ryan Hooper scored the go-ahead run from third base.
Remotto, who was doused with the ice bucket afterward, said it was his first game-winning hit of the season.
"It was fun," the sophomore said. "Tough first pitch (in the at-bat). Curveball. I couldn't even see it at first. I thought he would come back with it and try to get me because I missed so badly the first time. I was kind of guessing. I got lucky."
The briskly played game pitted powerhouse programs and reigning North Coast Section champions -- the Cougars (12-6-1, 6-1 DFAL) in Division II and Dons (14-6, 4-3) in Division III.
The outcome was a reversal of fortune for the Cougars, who fell 2-1 to the Dons on March 19. Campolindo is seeking a fourth consecutive DFAL title.
Campolindo left-hander Matt Ladrech went seven strong innings, allowing five hits, striking out six and walking two. Reliever Tyler Luckhurst worked the final two innings to get the win, striking out four.
Acalanes starter Andrew Merken scattered six hits over seven innings with six strikeouts. He kept the top three hitters in Campolindo's lineup, Brett Stephens, Trent Shelton and Robbie Tenerowicz, from reaching base. Stephens managed a single in the eighth.
"We played hard," Merken said. "They got the run when they needed it, and we didn't get the job done, but we played really well. We just didn't have what it took to win that game."
Every time the Dons made a move, the Campolindo defense had the answer. The Cougars turned 6-4-3 double plays in the fourth and fifth innings to stymie potential rallies.
After the Dons' Grant Henderson singled down the left field line with one out in the ninth, he tried to stretch it to a double, but was thrown out by left fielder Scott Singh.
Acalanes' Jake Berry, who was 2 for 3, had an RBI single in the first to produce a 1-0 lead in the first inning. The Cougars' Ryan Hooper (3 for 4) scored to tie it in the fourth on a two-out infield single by Andy Petite.