The Huntington Beach baseball radio announcer had to find a new way to describe outfielder Dominic Abbadessa. When the junior stepped to the plate in the top of sixth inning, the announcer said, "And here comes the man, the myth, the Abbadessa."
When you make plays like No. 39 in dark gray did on Tuesday afternoon, you earn the right to have special recognition with a "the" in front of your name.
Abbadessa made, arguably, the play of the year in the bottom of the fourth inning in the 4-0 CIF Southern Section Division 1 semifinal win for Huntington Beach (23-8) over Norco (25-6) at Blair Field to advance to Saturday’s championship against Hart.
There may not be a better play at the college level or in the major leagues this season.
Norco No. 6 hitter Trevor Thompson blasted a drive into left field. Abbadessa turned and sprinted towards the wall on a dead run with his entire back towards the infield. It looked to be extra bases for Thompson, with the possibility of even scoring the runner, Patrick Keller, from first.
The ball was almost certain to drop. But Abbadessa came up with a Willie Mays-esque over-the-shoulder basket catch, gathered, and fired the ball back into the infield. He hit the shortstop who threw a one-hopper to first to double up Keller, who was in between second and third at the time the catch was made in the outfield.
Huntington Beach players celebrated all the way to the dugout on the first base side as Oilers fans stood on their feet in a thunderous ovation. It was the old-fashioned 7-6-3 double play to end the inning.
We are heading to the Finals Baby!!!!! Final score 4-0!! We will face Hart this Saturday at San Manual Stadium in San Bernardino!!
"I’m just running as fast as I can," said Abbadessa, who was also 1-for-4 in the game with an RBI and a run scored. "That’s all I want to do. I want to catch the ball. I want to do everything for my team. I didn’t think I had it but I just kept running and running and happened to make a good play."
Inside the Huntington Beach dugout, the Oilers staff could feel the impact the play was having on the game.
The Oilers were up 2-0 at the point with a lot of baseball to be played. If the ball drops, it’s a 2-1 game or, at best, they still lead by two but have to deal with runners on second and third with one out. Thanks to Abbadessa, the Oilers faced no such scenario.
"Dom is one of the fastest guys around," Huntington Beach head coach Benji Medure said. "He does special, athletic things all the time but that was unbelievable, and it was at a crucial point in the game where it really changed the complexity of the game and, kind of, took the air out of (Norco’s) sails. If that ball drops, it’s a totally different game."