A season that included23 wins and a San Francisco Section championship for the Lowell baseball team concluded in a tidy and unsentimental 90 minutes Wednesday at Big Rec.
That’s how long it took Skyline of Oakland to finish a two-game sweep of the Transbay Series, as Titans pitcher Evan Haarz tossed a four-hitter to lead the Titans to a 2-0 win.
“There weren’t many runs or hits and that makes a game go quick,” Lowell starter Gaston Guibert said. “It was over before we knew it.”
It was the start that ended up dooming the Cardinals (23-11), who allowed Skyline leadoff man Julian Coffin-Leanner to reach on an error to begin the game. Coffin-Leanner advanced to second on Ethan Hopkins’ sacrifice bunt and came around to score on Joshua Chase’s sharp single into left field.
That turned out to be the only run support Haarz would need, as the right-hander walked two, struck out three and did not permit more than one runner in an inning until the bottom of the seventh. And after allowing an infield hit to Joey Bien-Kahn to start the final inning and a single to pinch-hitter Narin Leininger with one out, the junior regrouped. He retired the final two Lowell batters on infield outs, including a popup to shortstop Roland Chandler to end the game with the tying run on second.
“We took a number of called strikes and give him credit — he did a great job,” Lowell coach John Donahue said. “I was feeling like we’d come through with a big hit at the end, and it was tough to ruin a great effort by our lefty.”
Guilbert was indeed a hard-luck loser, as both Skyline runs were unearned. He induced a huge double-play grounder to get out of a first-inning jam and finished with a six-hitter, walking one while striking out two. The senior needed just 75 pitches to get through the game, 52 were strikes.
“It was nice to see both guys work fast and stay around the plate,” said Skyline coach Don Ardissone, who announced he would be stepping down after the game. “[Guibert] pitched great, but it was just one of those days where our guy pitched even a little bit better.”
The Titans (19-8-1) also did a superb job adjusting to the unpredictable playing surface at Big Rec — a huge change from the immaculate infield at McAfee Coliseum, home of the A’s, where Game 1 was played. Skyline did not make an error in the game and knocked down several bad-hop grounders and still recorded outs. Lowell’s Max Newman made a few spectacular plays at shortstop, but the Cardinals committed three errors — with two leading to the only runs in the game. In the series, Lowell made seven errors in contrast to just two for the Titans.
Skyline has now won eight Transbay titles, while the Cardinals have three.
“We would have loved to have gone out with a win, but I’ll never forget taking home the city championship,” said Guibert, the winning pitcher that day in an 8-3 victory over Washington at AT&T Park, home of the Giants. “I’ll always be proud of my high school career.”
Skyline 2, Lowell 0
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