HomeBlocksFront-TopBaseball: Titans Open CIF With Shutout of Citrus Hill

Baseball: Titans Open CIF With Shutout of Citrus Hill

With the outright Rio Hondo League crown in hand, the San Marino High baseball team is shifts gears to the postseason, starting with a CIF Southern Section Division IV first-round matchup hosting Citrus Hill.

Against the visiting Hawks, the Titans rode the arm of ace Tomás Bilvado and collected the hits they needed along the way to post a 5-0 victory in their CIF opener on May 2 at McNamee Field.

“I think this is the best game we have played all season and I didn’t expect anything else out of it. We’ve been working hard,” Bilvado said.

Bilvado went the distance on the mound to earn the shutout win, allowing just three hits while striking out seven.

“With Tomás, everyone knows what he can do, and he went out and did it,” San Marino coach John Franklin said. “This definitely wasn’t his easiest shutout of the year. He had threatening guys on base in a couple of innings and he just made big pitches, hit his spots — trusted what he had to do. He was firing on all cylinders today.”

The junior faced the minimum amount of batters through four innings, thanks to picking a runner off first base after the second batter he faced hit a bloop single. Later, his defense turning a double play behind him in the third inning after he had issued a one-out walk.

The fifth inning was the only time that Citrus Hill, which finished third in the Mountain Pass League with a 15-7 overall record, came close to scoring. Bilvado had struck out the first two batters of the frame before the next two reached on singles. A stolen base put Hawks at second and third, and the next Citrus Hill batter worked the count full before Bilvado struck him out swinging to end the threat.

San Marino (21-7, Rio Hondo League champions) put a single run up on the board in each of the first two innings off of Citrus Hill starter Nicholas Munoz to get into the driver’s seat early.

“[Munoz] was pounding the zone. He was pretty firm and had a good team behind him making plays on the defense, but we were able, with first-strike approach, to hit everything, so it was awesome,” Titan Sid Danenhauer said.

Danenhauer led off the bottom of the first for the Titans by hitting Munoz’s first offering of the contest into the right/center field gap for the senior’s first extra-base hit of the season. JJ Wilson followed that up by lining a single into left center to drive Danenhauer in and stake their ace to an early advantage.

“[Wilson] has been clutch all year. I don’t think anyone has more clutch at-bats than he has had,” Franklin said.

With two out in the bottom of the second inning, Titan Jamie Bercaw swatted a single to left field. Then, with Danenhauer at the plate, the speedy junior stole second and later took third on a wild pitch. Two pitches later, with the count full, Danenhauer lined an RBI-single over the head of the leaping Hawk shortstop to go up 2-0.

Munoz was lifted in the bottom of the fifth after walking Wilson on four pitches to open the frame, giving way to Efren Urrea. A bounce out by Coleman Morning advanced Wilson to second before a first-pitch single by Mikey Yessaian put Titans at the corners. Munoz then got a strikeout for the second out, but not before Yessaian stole second. Up next was Ryan Park, who hit the third pitch of the at-bat into left field to drive in two runs while advancing to second as the throw back into the infield was misplayed.

“It was a hanging curveball,” Park said. “I let it get deep and just slapped it over the shortstop.”

Bilvado then switched places with Park, driving him in with a double that landed in the deep corner of left field for the third run of the inning and what turned out to be the final run of the contest.

“They brought in one of their relief pitchers. He was throwing strikes and we were just banging them,” Wilson said. “Crooked numbers put teams away, and that is what happened.”

Bilvado sat the Hawks down in order in the seventh inning, with the final out coming on a pop-up to Park at shortstop.

The Titans traveled to Oak Hills for a CIF second-round matchup on May 7. The Bulldogs are the Mojave River League champion and the No. 5-ranked team in the CIF polls.

“It’s always nice to make the playoffs in the first place. It feels even better to win a game,” Wilson said. “We’re just going to get back to work and keep grinding for the next one.”

First published in the May 9 issue of the San Marino Tribune

Photo by Sebastian Moore / San Marino pitcher Tomás Bilvado tossed a three-hitter in a shutout victory over Citrus Hill in a CIF Southern Section Division IV first-round game on May 2. The Titans faced Oak Hills High in the second round on May 7.


San Marino traveled to Hesperia for a CIF Southern Section Division IV second-round matchup against host Oak Hills, battling for a berth in the quarterfinals.

The Titans and Bulldogs went back-and-forth in the playoff showdown before the hosts established a six-run lead, plating five in the fifth inning.

San Marino scored three more runs in the sixth inning, but it wasn’t enough as the Titans saw their CIF run come to an end in a 9-6 loss to Oak Hills.

The Titans cap their season off as outright Rio Hondo League champions, their second consecutive league title after sharing the crown with South Pasadena last season. San Marino finished the campaign 21-8 overall and 9-3 in league.

The Bulldogs, the unbeaten Mojave River League champions, struck first in the bottom of the second inning before the Titans put up three runs at the top of the third for a 3-1 lead. Oak Hills (23-6 overall) scored eight, unanswered runs across three innings, first with one run in the bottom of the third inning followed by two in the bottom of the fourth.

San Marino gave up five runs in the fifth, but answered with three runs of its in own in the sixth before being shut out in the seventh.

JJ Wilson played a dual role for the Titans in the second-round matchup. The junior walked two, struck out three and allowed three hits and two earned runs across 2 1/3 innings pitched. At the plate, he finished 1-for-4 with two RBIs and a run scored.

Bilvado finished 1-for-3 with a run scored. He also pitched 1 2/3 innings, allowing two hits, one walk and one earned run.

Freshman Chase Mena also drove in two runs finishing 1-for-3. Bercaw went 2-for-3 and scored two runs, while Danenhauer finished 1-for-2 with a run scored. Park also collected one hit, and freshman Parker Wilson scored one run.

San Marino junior Caleb Newton tossed two-thirds of an inning and gave up four runs, two hits and four walks. Titans senior Brandon Strauss pitched 1 1/3 innings and yielded two walks, two runs and three hits to go along with one strikeout.

— Vincent Nguyen contributed to this report


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