Ricardo Lizcano got robbed.
No, it won't be neccessary to file a report with the local law enforcement authorities, because what Marietta College shortstop Tim Saunders did to Lizcano was "perfectly legal" on the baseball diamond at Don Schaly Stadium Saturday.
Here's what fans witnessed, besides a 7-3 MC triumph over Heidelberg University, which incidentally was the "home team" in the league championship game.
During Ohio Athletic Conference Tournament action in the bottom of the fourth inning, Lizcano, Heidelberg's right fielder, drilled a laser shot off MC righty Mark Williams that appeared to be heading in the direction of Jordan Grilliot in left field.
But, at the crack of the bat, Saunders literally dove to his right, and parallel to the ground, he snared the low line drive with his glove backhanded in mid-air before landing on the infield dirt.
Out No. 1, and it was absolutely sensational.
The Pioneer faithful at the ballpark, of course, applauded and voiced their approval.
It truly was a highlight film defensive play, worthy of a viewing on ESPN, if the nationally televised sports network was interested. Derek Jeter of the New York Yankees, or just about any Major League Baseball shortstop, couldn't have made a much better grab than Saunders. It was that good.
Lizcano, with bat still in hand, was able to go about 10 steps up the first baseline before stopping and just staring (or was he glaring?) out at Saunders at shortstop. The Student Prince senior knew that he'd been deprived of a basehit, so he slowly walked back to the HU third base dugout.
Thing is, Heidelberg hits were difficult to come by in this game, thanks to the pitching of Williams. Lizcano's smash was the hardest hit ball off the Pioneer hurler, and it was nothing but a loud out.
Before departing in the eighth inning with a 7-1 lead, Williams had given up a bunt hit in the opening frame, a sun-aided popfly flare to short left field in the sixth and a clean single to right in the eighth.
"Obviously, pitching has been our strength all year," said Marietta skipper Brian Brewer afterwards. "Defense has helped them out, and the offense continues to improve throughout the course of the season."
Interestingly, in the top of the fourth inning, Lizcano had an opportunity to rob the right-handed-batting Saunders of a low but catchable line drive hit to right. The HU outfielder came in on the ball as if to make a shoestring catch, but instead misplayed the ball for an error.
If Lizcano somehow had made the catch, it would have been a nice one but not as good as Saunders' take-away in the bottom half of the frame.
By the way, after reaching first base safely, Saunders later came around to score an unearned run for the Pioneers.
Guess it just wasn't Lizcano's day, no thanks in part to the glove of Saunders.
Ron Johnston is the Marietta Times sports editor and can be reached at 376-5441 or at firstname.lastname@example.org