St. Mary’s scores 14 runs on just 10 hits as Alfert goes deep in the first inning
After dropping three straight BSAL games to drop out of first place, the St. Mary’s High baseball team stumbled into the perfect prescription: two games against winless St. Elizabeth.
After pounding the Mustangs 14-5 at home on Wednesday, the Panthers headed down to San Leandro Ballpark for the rematch on Friday and put in a repeat performance, scoring nine runs in the third inning to key a 14-1 win in five innings.
“We got two easy wins, but they kind of put us to sleep,” St. Mary’s head coach Andy Shimabukuro said. “We didn’t get all that many hits.”
Indeed, the Panthers (11-12 overall, 7-3 BSAL) needed just 10 hits to score their barrage of runs on Friday. Their cause was aided by nine walks and a hit batsman by St. Elizabeth (0-10 BSAL) pitchers Warren Sanders and Matt Marquez, not to mention some shoddy fielding by the Mustangs.
Chris Alfert jump-started the Panthers in the first inning with a three-run bomb that hit the face of an overpass behind the leftfield wall. Sanders got out of the inning with no additional damage and cruised through the second, but didn’t record an out in the third before being pulled after six batters.
Marquez came in from centerfield to relieve Sanders, but immediately walked in two runs before surrendering a bases-clearing triple to Chris Morocco that gave the Panthers an 11-1 lead. Morocco would score on a Pete McGuinness triple, but Jeff Marshall hit into a fielder’s choice with the bases loaded to end the inning. St. Mary’s left nine runners on base in the game.
Alfert said the Panthers had trouble raising their usual intensity against the Mustangs, who played without a single bench player on Friday.
“We don’t bring the same intensity against these guys that we do for big games,” Alfert said. “We still play hard, but it’s just not the same.”
The Panthers added two more runs in the fifth. With the bases loaded yet again, Marshall hit a groundball to shortstop. Instead of trying for the double play, Marcus Flentroy threw to first badly, allowing Marcus Turner and Joe Storno to score.
While the Panthers were strolling around the bases, three St. Mary’s pitchers combined to give up just two hits. McGuinness got his first start of the season on the mound and threw two shutout innings, striking out the side in the second. Freshman Scott Tully gave up the only Mustang run in the third, walking Marquez to force in Flentroy. Tully settled down and went three up, three down in the fourth before Marcus Johnson did the same in the fifth to end the game.
Shimabukuro took advantage of the easy week, resting ace Storno from his pitching duties. Storno is the team’s only reliable pitcher, but his tendency to have high pitch counts influenced Shimabukuro to save his arm for the season finale against Piedmont next Wednesday.
“I was just trying to get through today without having to pitch Joe,” Shimabukuro said. “He needed a break from pitching.”
Storno agreed with his coach’s decision. Piedmont is one of three teams sitting atop the BSAL with two losses, and a win would assure the Panthers at least a No. 3 seed for the league playoffs.
“I wanted a rest. Piedmont is a huge game for us, so I want to be rested,” the senior lefthander said. “I’ll throw in the bullpen on Monday, and by Wednesday I’ll be as good as I can be.”