Better late than never applied to the La Salle High baseball team, which for the majority of the early innings couldn’t muster much offense in an opening-round game of the Arcadia Elks Tournament last Friday against St. Francis.
In this clash of area rivals, the Lancers finally found their groove and started to chip away at the Golden Knights’ lead until scoring three runs in the fifth inning, and came away with a 4-2 victory.
La Salle (2-0) trailed 2-1 entering the bottom of the fifth and tied it when pitcher Daniel Monarrez hit Noeh Martinez to open the frame.
This was the third time Martinez was nicked by a pitch from Monarrez, and wasn’t pleased as he trotted to first base.
Kyle Cuellar laid down a sacrifice bunt that St. Francis third baseman Kevin Baker fielded, but his throw to first base was high, as Martinez raced to third base.
Vincent Alberico’s grounder scored Martinez, and George Medina’s two-run inside-the-park homer to center field put the Lancers ahead by two runs.
The Golden Knights (0-1) were held scoreless over the final two innings, and though there are more games, they’d probably like to put this loss in the rear view mirror.
That’s because St. Francis is coming off a season in which it finished 7-21 and 2-10 in Mission League play.
St. Francis Head Coach Aaron Milam is in his second season at the helm, and has a skilled pitching staff that also includes A.J. Byer and Richie Alfonso, but he also knows it’s going to be a major struggle to produce runs.
“We’ll pitch pretty well, and we’re pretty deep,’’ Milam said, “and we’ll compete, but when it comes to scoring a lot of runs. Well, that’s another story.”
La Salle starting pitcher Austin Wallis allowed two runs in the first inning when Anders Schraer smacked a bases-loaded double to left.
Jordan Rodgers came on in relief in the fourth inning, and was credited with the victory after striking out six, walking one and allowing one hit.
In an another game, Crescenta Valley roughed up Mark Keppel, 10-4, as Jonny Psaltis had three hits and drove in four runs, while Bryan Wang contributed a double and a triple in a second-round match of the Dick’s Sporting Goods Preseason tourney on Wednesday at Stengel Field.
Psaltis went four innings, surrendered five hits and two runs while fanning three to earn the win as the Falcons evened their record at 1-1 after losing their opener 6-3 to La Canada.