Page One

Panthers survive error-fest

By Jared Green, Daily Planet Staff
Saturday March 16, 2002

Two-run seventh inning gives  

St. Mary’s a win to start BSAL 


The St. Mary’s High baseball team kicked off its league season with a sloppy, last-gasp 10-9 win over St. Joseph on Friday. First baseman Pete McGuiness drove home the game-winning run with a drive to the fence in right field, scoring Joe Storno from second base. 

The game was a slow affair, with 11 total errors leading to seven unearned runs between the two teams. 

“We knew this was probably going to be a crazy game,” St. Mary’s head coach Andy Shimabukuro said. “We’ve been wiped out by injuries.” 

Those injuries include Shimabukuro’s two top pitchers, both out with shoulder injuries and with uncertain return dates. Friday’s starter, Joe Storno, has become St. Mary’s ace-by-default, and he struggled through six-plus innings against St. Joseph with a 9-6 lead. But Storno loaded the bases in the top of the seventh without getting an out, and Shimabukuro was forced to pull him. 

“I knew it was going to be a fight in that last inning, but I was trying to get (Storno) through for a complete game,” Shimabukuro said. “Our bullpen is pretty much non-existent right now.” 

The Panthers turned to shortstop Manny Mejia. Mejia closed Wednesday’s game against Castlemont, but that was the first time he had pitched in a game. He did a passable job against the Pilots in a tough situation on Friday, but the visitors managed to push across four runs on his watch for a 10-9 lead. 

“I didn’t even think I was going to pitch today,” Mejia said. “But I felt I could do it, and I know (Shimabukuro) has confidence in me to get the job done.” 

But the Panthers had the heart of their order coming up. Chris Morocco led off with a groundout, but second baseman Chris Alfert made up for two errors in the second inning with a blast to center that cleared the fence to tie the game.  

“Alfert’s our main guy.” Shimabukuro said. “If anyone’s going to step up, it’ll be him. Our 3-4-5 hitters are going to have to carry us, because we’re scrappy through the rest of the lineup.” 

Storno followed with a single, and Chase Moore lined another single to left. With the winning run on second, the St. Joseph outfield was forced to play shallow, and McGuiness ended the game by launching a shot over the centerfielder’s head. 

The early part of the game was ugly for the defenses. Alfert’s two second-inning miscues led to four runs for the Pilots, but three St. Joseph errors in the third handed the Panthers three runs. St. Mary’s followed that with a six-hit, four-run fourth inning that put them ahead 9-4 before the Pilots chipped away at the lead.