HomeBlocksFront-TopBaseball: Miscues Plague Titans in Final Monrovia Matchup

Baseball: Miscues Plague Titans in Final Monrovia Matchup

In the first two baseball contests of the three-game series against Rio Hondo League opponent Monrovia, San Marino had gotten a shutout win on the road and then a thrilling one-run walk-off victory at home in extra innings.

The third game was back on the home field of the Wildcats as the hosts tried to avoid getting swept this season by the Titans on March 20.

In the final game between the two schools this regular season, the host Wildcats posted a 2-0 shutout win over the Titans, who had some costly misadventures on the base paths that helped lead to the loss at Dave Moore Field.

“We just kind of ended up beating ourselves,” San Marino coach John Franklin said. “We ran ourselves out of a couple of innings. You know — some base running mistakes. That has sort of been the story of all of our losses this year is a couple of base running mistakes and maybe not executing a bunt and [not] playing Titan baseball, as we like to call it.”

With one out in the third inning, trailing 1-0, Titan freshman Chase Mena grounded a single into right field. Mena was gunned out trying to steal second base by Monrovia freshman catcher Braydon Blackmore with senior Coleman Morning at the plate. Morning then bounced out to end the top of the frame.

In the top of the fourth inning, now trailing 2-0, San Marino (13-3 overall, 4-2 in league) got a leadoff double down the first base line by JJ Wilson. Titans junior Jamie Bercaw followed and tried to lay down a bunt, but did not make contact. Wilson was then caught off second base, allowing Blackmore to throw behind him for the pickoff and the first out of the inning. Monrovia pitcher Andrew Cito, who went the distance for the win, then struck out Bercaw for one of his four Ks.

The next two Titans reached when Mikey Yessaian drew a walk and was followed by Tomás Bilvado, who got an infield single when he slid headfirst into first base to beat a throw by the Wildcat shortstop. Titans senior Liam Van Fossan was up next and swatted a single. However, an accurate throw into the infield led to Yessaian stopping at third base and Bilvado getting caught off second base. Bilvado was forced to try for third, but was tagged out at the base for the final out before a Titan could score.

It was the second time San Marino had recorded three hits in an inning without anything to show for it. In the top of the second, the Titans alternated hits with strikeouts against Cito. Wilson lined a single to centerfield to lead off, but the next Titan struck out looking. Yessaian then grounded a single past the Wildcat shortstop, but the next Titan struck out swinging. Van Fossan followed with a single that dropped into right field to load the bases, only to see the next batter bounce out to Cito, allowing the senior to escape the jam.

“We can’t get three hits in an inning and not put up any runs,” Franklin lamented.

Wilson pitched all six innings for the Titans and allowed just three hits and the two runs in taking the loss.

“I just try to compete and throw strikes,” Wilson said.

The hosts scored first in the bottom of the second when an error allowed Isaias Hernandez, who had led off with a walk, to score. The Wildcats’ second run came on a homer by Troy Grise with two outs in the third. The sophomore smashed the second pitch of the at-bat over the 2006 CIF Champions sign in right field, after which the ball clanged off the metal-clad building beyond the fence.

“Their two runs score an error by our second baseman — who doesn’t make errors, it happens every once in a while — and the home run,” Franklin said. “[On the homer] their coach had our pitcher kind of looked and relayed the sign for it. Obviously, if you know a fastball is coming a good hitter is going to piece it up, so I talked to JJ about it to adjust. It’s baseball, guys are going to try to get any advantage they can.”

The result was a far cry from the game the two squads had played two days earlier on March 18 in San Marino. In the 3-2 San Marino win, Bilvado pitched all nine innings and also hit the sacrifice fly in the bottom of the ninth to score Mena for a walk-off win.

“They did what they had to do to come out on top [on Monday],” Monrovia coach Brad Blackmore said. “Today, I thought we dictated a little more from the start. Andrew was great on the mound and [we] made a couple big plays behind the plate.”


JJ Wilson hit an RBI double as the Titans defeated the Dons in a nonleague matchup at home on March 25.

Mena and Morning each recorded a hit and run scored, and senior Sid Danenhauer scored a run.

Bilvado started on the mound and tossed 3 1/3 innings for five hits, four walks, two strikeouts and one earned run. Titans junior Caleb Newton threw 3 2/3 innings of relief, striking out one and allowing two hits.

Following a nonleague game against Nogales at home, San Marino travels to Cerritos for a nonleague game before a pair of league matchups against rival Temple City. The Titans will face the Rams first on Monday, April 1, on the road before playing host on April 4.

First published in the March 28 issue of the San Marino Tribune


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