Matt Carrigg was the hero and the villain all at once.
The Pitman High School shortstop delivered a bases-loaded single in the bottom of the seventh inning, lifting the Pride to a 5-4 win over Modesto in the 2015 baseball opener for both teams on Friday.
However, standing on deck when Carrigg ended the game was Pitman catcher Coleton Horner, who was 0 for 3 with his 26-game hitting streak on the line.
Had Carrigg made an out, Horner would have gotten another shot to extend the streak that carried over from 2014.
“It was good while it lasted,” said Horner, who batted .468 last season as a junior and hit safely in all 26 of his team’s games. “Of course, I was hoping for another at-bat, but I didn’t want Matt to strike out.”
For a brief time Friday, Carrigg also wore the goat’s horns.
The junior, beginning his third varsity campaign, committed an error on the first play of the season when leadoff hitter Caleb Sexson hit a ground ball up the middle. Sexson eventually scored on a two-out single by Matt McElroy.
An inning later, Sexson delivered a two-out, two-run triple to right field that Todd Jones got a glove on but couldn’t corral, and the Panthers led 3-0.
Modesto starter Ricardo Martinez got his season off to a fine start, striking out the side in the first and retiring the side in order in the second on three groundouts.
Pitman struck for two runs in the third, tied the score with a run in the fourth and went ahead with another in the fifth.
Carrigg took the mound in the seventh, inheriting a mess. With runners on second and third and no outs, he minimized the damage and got out of the inning with the score tied after a sacrifice fly.
In the bottom of the seventh, Jones led off with a double, leadoff hitter Colton Evans singled, and sophomore Anthony Encalade was intentionally passed to load the bases. Encalade had tripled and reached on an error, but the ball that went between the first baseman’s legs was probably hit harder than the three-bagger.
Carrigg then drilled a ball over the left fielder’s head that one-hopped the wall.
“I was just trying to do my job,” said Carrigg. “With the infield in and the outfield in, I was just hoping to lift a fly ball.
“That was the longest single I’ve ever had.”
As for Horner, well, he can always start another streak on Saturday at Oakdale.
“I’m not really disappointed,” said Horner. “I’d be more disappointed if we’d lost. We played well today.”