The bullpen was getting busy and Sacred Heart Cathedral coach Brian Morgan was walking slowly to the mound at Big Rec.
But Irish starting pitcher Sonny Pearce wasn’t going anywhere.
After Pearce issued a four pitch walk to St. Ignatius’ Paul Toboni to begin the top of the fifth inning of Tuesday’s Bruce-Mahoney baseball game, Morgan took a moment to settle down his senior ace. Three pitches later, Pearce had induced a double play and a groundout to third base and Sacred Heart was back in the dugout and well on its way to a 5-2 win in the West Catholic Athletic League opener for both teams.
“Coach just came out to settle me down,” Pearce said.”I was a little nervous at the beginning of the game, but then I relaxed because I knew I was in control. That’s why I love pitching.”
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Pearce allowed just two runs on four hits and threw 92 pitches in a complete-game win, striking out four and issuing just two walks. After David Schaefer delivered an RBI single with two outs in the third inning to pull St. Ignatius within 3-2, Pearce did not give up another hit and did not permit a Wildcat to reach second base the rest of the way. Sacred Heart (5-1, 1-0) split its two games with St. Ignatius last season, but this was its first win in the Bruce-Mahoney game in 10 years.
The Wildcats (3-5, 0-1) still earned the trophy this year by virtue of their wins in both football and boys’ basketball.
“We had beaten them, we just hadn’t done it in the Bruce-Mahoney for a while,” Morgan said. “And it’s great for us to get a win in the league opener and get off on the right foot.”
Leadoff man Eric Herrera was the hitting star for the Irish, recording three hits in four times at bat. He had a one-out triple in the fourth and scored on Pearce’s groundout to give the Irish a 4-2 lead and singled in a key insurance run in the bottom of the fifth. The senior shortstop also recorded five assists, including a sliding grab and off-balance throw on the double play that got Pearce out of trouble in the fifth. Sacred Heart’s defense was error-free, while St. Ignatius had five miscues that led to four unearned runs.
Serra 13, Riordan 2
SAN MATEO — The first inning of the WCAL opener was shaping up nicely for Riordan. But then the Crusaders left the bases loaded and hit the skids.
Despite leading twice in the first two innings, Riordan (7-3, 0-1) fell prey to a potent Serra offense, losing at Danny Frisella Memorial Field. The Padres (6-2, 1-0) scored in each of the first five innings, including a five-run third, to hand Riordan right-hander Dan Zamudio his first lost of the season. Riordan pitching walked six and hit another three batsmen throughout.
“They score eight runs a game,” Crusaders coach Ron Isola. “You can’t give them four other ones. They’re just too good for that.”
Zamudio gave Riordan the lead in the first with an RBI single to plate Anthony Lecue, but Serra leadoff man Tony Renda tied it with a solo homer in the bottom of the frame. Riordan bounced back with an RBI single by Lecue to plate Mike Sandoval in the second, but Serra scored twice in the bottom of the second and never looked back.
— Terry Bernal