The Knights had an exciting start to the St. Paul Tournament, beating La Salle 5-2 in eight innings on Saturday. The game began as a pitcher’s duel between Joey Malham and La Salle’s Bowdien Derby and ended with a three-run rally in the eighth inning spearheaded by David Olmedo-Barrera’s leadoff single.
In the game’s most pivotal moment, Lancer reliever Garry Goebel allowed Olmedo-Barrera to reach third and then loaded the bases with two outs. Goebel struck out Anders Schraer on a curveball in the dirt, but the ball got away from catcher Nate Bouton.
Bouton scrambled to the ball and threw to first for a close play. The first base umpire called Schraer out, but the home plate umpire deliberated, and eventually changed the call to safe, allowing Olmedo-Barrera to score the go-ahead run.
“It’s a tough way for them to go down, but we’ve all had calls go against us,” St. Francis coach Brian Esquival said.
Esquival, a Lancer alum, described the matchup with the fellow private school of a neighboring city as a “friendly rivalry.” Malham admitted that he had played youth baseball with several of his La Salle opponents and even had an idea on how to pitch to some of them.
“It’s been awhile, but I’ve played with a lot of their guys,” Malham said. “It’s fun to play against them just to see how we measure up.”
Malham allowed two runs through six innings and got out of a bases-loaded jam in the fourth inning by inducing a double play from Bouton.
“We haven’t faced Joey (Malham) at the varsity level, but some of the guys have faced him,” La Salle coach Harry Agajanian said. “You could see that a lot of the players knew each other and the parents in the bleachers were friendly. I don’t think I would call it a rivalry, but it’s certainly a game where we want to show up and play our best.”
The Knights (10-11, 3-5) played St. Bonaventure in the tournament’s second game, but got shutout 6-0 on just four hits. They will play La Mirada on Tuesday.
Division 2 Playoff Outlook: At 3-5 in the Mision League, the Knights are currently on the outside looking in. The good news: they have two games next week with Alemany and they could leapfrog both Notre Dame and Alemany into third place by winning their remaining four league games.
The Lancers can take solace in another strong performance from ace Bowdien Derby (five innings, one run) in Saturday’s matchup with St. Francis, along with two RBI doubles from sophomore Nick Brown, but the 5-2 extra-inning loss was followed with a 17-3 loss to Long Beach Wilson on Monday.
Despite a poor showing in the St. Paul Tournament, the Lancers have reason to celebrate this week. Last week they defeated Bishop Montgomery twice, 11-1 and 5-1, improving their Del Rey league record to 7-3 with two games remaining. La Salle has certainly turned a corner after finishing 6-6 last season and under .500 in league play the previous four years.
“We’re not going to let a bad game or two get us down,” said Derby after last week’s win over Bishop Montgomery. “We still haven’t played our best baseball.”
La Salle will continue tournament play Tuesday against a team yet to be determined.
Division 4 Playoff Outlook: How well the Lancers finish out the season will go a long way in determining where they are seeded for postseason play, but after last week’s sweep of Bishop Montgomery, La Salle looks to be safe and is on its way toward locking up the Del Rey League’s No. 2 spot.
The Falcons rebounded nicely from a 4-2 loss to Arcadia on April 15 by beating Pasadena 6-0 last Tuesday and Muir 12-0 on Friday.
The Crescenta Valley pitching rotation, consisting of Troy Mulcahey, Kyle Murray, and Elliott Surrey (who struck out 10 batters against Pasadena) has been absolutely dominant this year. One member of the trio has pitched a shutout in six of the team’s last seven games, and Falcons starter hasn’t allowed more than two runs in a game since April 2.
Another shutout may be in the forecast when the Falcons take on Glendale on Tuesday and Hoover on Friday.
Division 2 Playoffs: At 6-1, Crescenta Valley is more concerned with a return to the top of the Pacific League than about securing a playoff spot. They’re in the postseason.
The Rebels entered last week’s two-game series with Pasadena Poly, the top ranked team in Division 6, as the second-place team in the Prep League and exited the week in fourth.
“We haven’t made it easy on ourselves, but I still feel we should finish in second place,” Flintridge Prep coach Buzz Cook said.
Clayton Weirick used an array of curveballs and well-located fastballs to throw five shutout innings in Tuesday’s opener with Poly, but the Panthers scored six runs in the sixth inning off Rebel relievers to roll to a 9-3 win.
“I took Weirick out after five innings because it was already his longest outing of the year,” Cook said. “If I had it to do again, I’d still pull him.”
Flintridge Prep ace Royce Park struck out seven batters in five innings in Thursday’s second game, but battled control issues and allowed four runs. It was more than enough run support for Poly ace Jordan Kutzer who threw six innings, allowing one run and striking out eight in a 6-1 win.
Division 6 Playoffs: The top three teams are guaranteed a playoff birth and the Rebels currently sit in fourth. They play Rio Hondo Prep, who recently jumped ahead of them in the standings, once on Friday and twice Saturday at home.
“We need to win at least two of those games,” Cook said.
Perhaps the Wildcats’ 14-1 record in league last year didn’t provide enough excitement and that’s why they proceeded to turn the Rio Hondo League upside-down last week with two heartbreaking defeats, including a suprising 5-4 extra-inning loss to La Canada.
More likely, Monrovia isn’t getting timely hits and the bullpen is struggling. The team has lost five straight games, but three of those losses have been by one run. In Wednesday’s loss to La Canada, Kevin Shue threw five scoreless innings, but the bullpen allowed five runs, including three in the bottom of the eighth.
Chris Burkholder made a quality start against Temple City on Friday, allowing three runs through six and one thirds innings, but Rams starter Corey Copping was just a notch better, allowing two runs and striking out 11 in a complete game.
With the victory, Temple City jumped ahead of Monrovia into first place. But all is not lost.
The Wildcats sit in a tie for second place with South Pasadena, who they will play on Wednesday and again next week. They have one game remaining against Temple City on May 10.
If the Wildcats win out, which they certainly proved capable of a year ago, they’ll at worst finish in a tie for first. Monrovia plays San Marino on Tuesday.
Division 4 Playoffs: Despite their recent struggles, the Wildcats are still currently a playoff qualifier. But they can’t afford to drop any further in the standings, as their 8-10-1 overall record might not guarantee them an at-large bid.
Lookout for the Tigers! After finishing third-place in the Rio Hondo league a year ago, coach Anthony Chevrier has his squad in a position to improve on that finish this year.
“The senior class has completely bought into what’s expected of them and how to play the game,” Chevrier said. “The players have really gelled and I think our best baseball is ahead of us.”
The Tigers defeated La Canada on Friday to run their league-winning streak to three games. Tony Veiller had two RBIs and Anthony D’ Oro turned in another brilliant performance, allowing one run through seven innings to pick up his fourth win.
“Anthony has been solid all year,” Chevrier said. “He puts the ball over the plate, works quick, and keeps us in the game.”
South Pasadena has its toughest week on upcoming schedule. The Tigers play first place Temple City at home on Tuesday and Monrovia on Wednesday.
“We’ve put ourselves in a great position,” said Chevrier. “I think we have a chance at winning league.”
Division 4 Playoffs: Nothing is certain despite the Tigers’ strong play as of late. The third place team in the Rio Hondo league is not guaranteed a playoff birth so the Tigers need to either move up the standings or improve enough on their overall record to make an at-large bid more likely.
Stat Line of the Week
La Canada senior Scott Stetson collected four hits on Wednesday, including a double and a triple, with four runs batted in and a run scored to lead the Spartans to a 5-4 upset victory over Monrovia. He raised his season batting average to .442 with the performance.
Arcadia ace K. J. Edson threw a two-hit shutout against Burbank last Tuesday. He walked two batters and struck out six to lead Arcadia to a 1-0 victory. Edson lowered his season ERA to an incredible 0.80 and improved his record to 7-1.
In the Spotlight
Who do ballplayers in the San Gabriel Valley support? 19 players on nine teams weighed in on their favorite teams.
Dodgers (9); Yankees (3); Angels (2); Red Sox (2); Tigers (1); Cardinals (1); Orioles (1).
Games of the Week
Tuesday, 3:30 p.m. – Arcadia at Pasadena
This should be an intriguing matchup in that Arcadia relies primarily on excellent pitching and timely hitting while the Bulldogs have established themselves as the free-swingers of the Pacific League. Arcadia is 7-0 in league play and currently riding a 24-game winning streak in league.
Wednesday, 3:30 p.m. – South Pasadena at Monrovia
If you can’t catch South Pasadena’s home game with Temple City on Tuesday, then make Wednesday’s game a must-see. The Tigers are likely to throw ace Anthony D’ Oro at the Wildcats, who are looking to get back on track after losing twice last week.
Saturday, 4:00 p.m., 7:00 p.m. – Flintridge Prep vs. Rio Hondo Prep
Rio Hondo Prep crept ahead of Flintridge Prep in the Prep League standings last week, increasing the importance of this week’s three games series – one game at Rio Hondo Prep on Friday and two at home for the Rebels on Saturday at the Glendale Sports Complex.
Joe Morrison's "Baseball Notebook" appears weekly across all Patch sites in the San Gabriel Valley.