SAN BRUNO — After shocking Stuart Hall to win the Bay Counties League West tournament, Lick-Wilmerding High School was feeling good coming into its North Coast Section Division IV first-round baseball playoff game.
That was until the Tigers ran into Brett Bonfigli and No. 1 seed Justin-Siena (Napa).
Bonfigli came within one out of pitching a complete game as he limited the No. 16 seed Tigers to one hit while striking out six to lead Justin-Siena past Lick 6-0 at Skyline College.
“[Bonfigli's] been our guy all year,” Justin-Siena coach Allen Rossi said. “He's really battled and stepped up in big games, and we had all the confidence in the world he would step up today. After struggling during those first two innings, but once he got into a groove, he dominated.”
Justin-Siena got on the board early as Lick (16-10) committed an error and had two passed balls in the first three innings, spotting the Braves a 3-0 lead.
“The first three runs, only one was earned,” Lick coach Scott Garlow said. “Nerves maybe played a part early in this game.”
Before hitting the last two batters he faced, Bonfigli — a senior who entered the game with an 8-1 record and 1.37 ERA — retired 15 Lick batters in a row, mixing a big looping curveball with his fastball.
“Ultimately, their pitcher dominated, and when you get only one hit and don't score any runs, you're not going to win any games,” Garlow said. “[Bonfigli] is a great pitcher, and they're the No. 1 seed for a reason.”
The Tigers had their chances in the first two innings to put fear into the Braves. In the first inning — with runners on first and second with two outs — Bonfigli struck out sophomore Brandon Balladares with a curveball.
In the top of the second, Lick loaded up the bases. Senior Evan Chan singled, Jack Monolius was hit by a pitch and Dixon Layton worked a walk, but junior John Kevane grounded out to third to end the rally.
That was the closest the Tigers came to scoring all game.
One positive for Lick is it made it to the playoffs with just three seniors, something Garlow pointed to afterward.
“Our kids competed and I couldn't be more proud of their effort,” Garlow said. “We're real young and it was just good to get them some experience in this atmosphere. We had a great season.”