Facing a potential 0-3 start, with rain threatening the rest of week, Mission Bears head baseball coach Chris Ayag sent senior C.J. Pino to the mound to right the ship.
In a game originally scheduled for March 7, but washed out because of rain, Pino delivered, tossing a one-hit shutout against Washington for a 6-0 win.
“Washington is well coached and plays small ball as good as any team in the Bay Area,” Ayag said. “Brian (Jensen) and his staff do a hell of a job manufacturing runs. The key is keeping their batters off base and C.J. and [senior catcher Zeke Bellino] called a hell of a game.”
Mission would get all the runs it needed in a four-run first inning. Eagles starter Chris Wong was uncharacteristically wild, allowing the Bears to score their runs with only one hit and a sacrifice fly.
Jared Onoe relieved Wong after eight batters and kept the Mission offense at bay until the seventh, when again, walks allowed the Bears to score two more runs. The Bears (1-2, 1-3 in AAA) only managed three hits the entire game.
“Rains have played havoc with everybody, but the thought of going 0-3 heading into our spring trip to the Anaheim Lions Tournament, did not sit well,” said Ayag, whose team will take a break from Academic Athletic Association play after two games against Galileo to face Fairfield on the road, and then down to Anaheim for six games, including Savana and Sparks (Nev.) Reed.
“We needed this win, and C.J. delivered,” Ayag said. “He pitched his butt off last week in a 2-1 lost to Lincoln. The boys up and down the line-up were patient at the plate and played catch. The league will be tight all season.”
Washington, which had been 2-0 and tied for first place in the AAA, dropped to 2-4 overall and 2-1 in league. Lowell, which beat Balboa 12-1 on Monday, now sits in first place all alone.