HomeBlocksFront-TopBaseball: Bilvado Tosses Gem to Lift Titans Past South Pasadena

Baseball: Bilvado Tosses Gem to Lift Titans Past South Pasadena

Whenever San Marino and South Pasadena High baseball teams face off on the baseball diamond, there is something special in the air.

“South Pas is always a tough game,” San Marino coach John Franklin said. “The kids, everyone, it’s just kind of how it is, everyone comes in with a little different energy and intensity on these kind of rivalry games.”

After being held in check early by the host Tigers, the Titans broke through in the late innings to come away with a 7-2 win in Rio Hondo League play March 11 in the first of three matchups between the squads.

“They threw a guy which had good tilt and was getting all of our guys off balance to start, and it took us four innings to make the adjustments and getting going,” Franklin said.

Tiger pitcher Jon Bracamonte went the distance on the mound and held the Titans hitless for the first four innings. However, the Titans made those adjustments Franklin alluded to and scored seven on the junior in the final three innings to hand him a loss.

“We really had to focus on tracking the ball and driving it the other way,” Titan senior Ryan Park said.

Titan ace Tomás Bilvado picked up the win, pitching a complete game two-hitter. He surrendered one run in the bottom of the fourth on a balk and one more in the bottom of the seventh on a groundout by Bracamonte that scored Devin Robinson.

“Tomás didn’t have his best stuff today, but he pushed through,” Franklin said. “He still competed, which is what we expect of him every single time.”

The junior also struck out five and walked four.

“It’s always a competitive game, either here or at our house, so it is always good to come out and battle these guys,” Bilvado said.

San Marino (9-2 overall, 2-1 in league) trailed by one run going into the fifth inning. Titans junior JJ Wilson led off the frame and reached base when the Tiger second baseman bobbled a ground ball. San Marino senior Liam Van Fossan followed with a single to right field for the visitors’ first hit of the contest, after which Titans junior Jamie Bercaw legged out a bunt single to load the bases with no outs. Bilvado then hit into a double play that left Bercaw and Van Fossan and Bercaw at second and third, respectively. Freshman Chase Mena then drove in a run with an infield single, scoring Van Fossan.

A second run came across with the next batter up when the Tigers caught Mena off first and got him in a pickle. However, a Tiger throw went wild in the process and Bercaw took the opportunity to come home, beating a throw. Mena then tried for second and was tagged out to end the top of the frame.

The Tigers went down in order quickly in the bottom of the fifth, and the Titans pushed two more across in the top of the sixth. With two on and two out, Wilson hit a single to right field to score pinch runner Bobby Fruto from second base and then Park, who had reached with a single, also scored after a Tiger throw home resulted in an error.

Bilvado had another quick 1-2-3 inning, paving the way for three more insurance runs for the Titans in the top of the seventh.

Bercaw led off with a single lined to center field. The junior stole second base with Bilvado at bat, after which the pitcher helped himself with an RBI double, changing places with Bercaw. Bilvado advanced on a ground out by Mena and then scored on a Tiger error when Mikey Yessaian’s pop-up to shallow right field was dropped by the Tiger second baseman. The next batter up, Sid Danenhauer, hit a single just after Yessaian was caught stealing. After that, Park clobbered a ball into the deep left field corner that a Tiger outfielder took a suboptimal route to and was unable to make the catch, despite getting his glove on it. Danenhauer scored and Park ended up at third.

“You hang it, we bang it — that’s what they say,” Park said. “It was a hanging curveball up and in — just turned on it.”

It was a bounce-back game in league play for the Titans, who had dropped their last Rio Hondo contest to visiting Temple City on March 4.

“We saw it at Temple City,” Franklin said. “If we don’t play good baseball, no matter how good our pitcher does, we can still lose a game 1-0 in nine innings. Today at least we were able to push some across and keep it going.”

First published in the March 14 issue of the San Marino Tribune

Photo by Sebastian Moore / Titans freshman Chase Mena tallied an RBI against South Pasadena in a Rio Hondo League baseball game.


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