It’s better to get off on the right foot, but the loss shouldn’t send any panic through the St. Francis High baseball team.
Then again, in the Golden Knights’ season opener last Friday afternoon, they struggled to find an offense while turning in four errors, and their best pitcher was on the ropes early.
There is an old baseball adage that says in order to be successful, a team needs to pitch and catch. Hitting will come, but the other two are constants.
St. Francis did neither well, and it showed on the scoreboard, losing 11-2 to Valencia in an Easton Tournament game at Jackie Robinson Field in Pasadena.
The Golden Knights’ fielding errors should be corrected, even by a young squad.
Chris Longo is the Golden Knights’ ace, but had problems locating the strike zone over three innings.
Longo, a right-hander, found trouble in the first inning, walking a pair and then drilled a batter which led to the hard-hitting Vikings taking a 2-0 lead. Shane Zeile drove in the initial run with an infield hit.
An error in the second inning led to Quincey Quintero’s two-run double as Valencia padded its lead to 4-0.
Ryan Garcia scored when Brandon Van Horn beat out an infield hit to make it 4-1.
It became 8-1 in the third when Quintero drilled a three-run triple. The frame was prolonged on an error.
The Golden Knights scored a solo run in the fifth, which was aided by a miscue from Valencia.
St. Francis accounted for seven hits, with J.P. Nolan collecting two, Van Horn, Anders Schraer, Phillip Dezotell, Garcia and Pete Hofman all adding one hit.
Longo, a senior, hopes to bounce back in his next start, and will be asked to have a solid season.
A two-run sixth by Valencia made it 10-2, before the Vikings added a run in the seventh inning.
James Bonds, the son of longtime and current St. Francis football coach Jim Bonds, now toils for Valencia. Bonds had one hit in five at-bats.
St. Francis placed sixth last season in the Mission League, and failed to make the CIF Southern Section playoffs.
Golden Knights Head Coach Brian Esquival knows the season is long, and there is time to improve.