Lick-Wilmerding baseball coach Manny Granillo took a chance early in his team’s Bay Counties League West semifinal game against Stuart Hall.
With the score still 0-0 and the bases loaded in the top of the third inning, Granillo pulled his starting pitcher, senior Caleb Kauffman, in favor of his shortstop, senior Louis Derosa.
“I wasn’t concerned,” Granillo said after the top-seeded Tigers’ 4-2 win over the Knights. “[Derosa] was fine. He throws strikes.”
Kauffman, who has seven wins for the season, will start when the Tigers (17-6) against Crystal Springs Uplands on Saturday at 2 p.m. at Big Rec-Graham for the championship. Thursday, however, he was too wild for Granillo.
Derosa looked equally shaky at first. He threw his second pitch, a curveball, to the backstop, allowing Stuart Hall’s Joe Hurd to score from third with the Knights’ first run.
“I was a little concerned that he was throwing a breaking pitch,” Granillo said.
The senior quickly settled down, however. After allowing another run on an infield out, Derosa completely shut down Stuart Hall (16-7). In earning the win, he went 4²/³ innings without allowing a hit.
“I like to think it’s a huge difference [that I also play shortstop],” Derosa said. “I pay attention to all the hitters and I warm up quickly, so it’s not hard to come in like that.”
With the Stuart Hall rally over, Lick-Wilmerding evened the score in its half of the third and then scored two more in the bottom of the sixth, the first on a timely single from left fielder Ian Churnin, the No. 7 hitter.
“We haven’t played in two weeks,” Granillo said. “We’ve been taking a lot of batting practice and everyone’s been hitting the ball well. We usually get most of our production from our top five hitters, so it was nice to see some from the bottom of the order.”
Crystal Springs Uplands 5, University 4
Cameron Susk gave up two runs in the first inning, then settled down to go the distance for the underdog Gryphons (10-5), who upset the second-seeded Red Devils (13-8). The win was third-seeded Crystal Springs Uplands’ first in three tries against University this season.
The Red Devils started things quickly. Zach Matthay and Adam Medoff began the inning with singles and later scored.
CSU scored its first run in the third and still trailed 2-1 in the fifth when Ben Sagan drove a ball deep to left field for an inside-the-park home run.
Up 3-2 in the seventh, the Gryphons added two fluky insurance runs, one on a strikeout-passed ball-throwing error and another on an excuse-me single with two outs. University made it interesting in the seventh, scoring two runs and leaving a runner stranded at second as the game, and its season, ended.
— Larry Rosen
Division II playoffs
Monterey 7, Sacred Heart Cathedral 0
MONTEREY — Leonard Giammanco fired a four-hitter as the third-seeded Toreadores (27-2-1) blanked the 14th-seeded Irish (16-12) in the first round of the Central Coast Section Division II playoffs.
Giammanco struck out seven and didn’t allow the Irish to advance a runner past second base, leading Monterey to its 23rd consecutive game without a loss. The Toreadores, who tied Bellflower 6-6 during a tournament April 11 and last lost 1-0 to Bellarmine on March 5, advance to play No. 11 Santa Cruz Saturday at 10 a.m. at Washington Park in Santa Clara.
— Staff report