In a battle between two local Catholic high school baseball teams, the St. Monica High Mariners overpowered windy conditions and the St. Bernard High School defense for an 11-2 Del Rey League victory at home Friday, April 8th.
The Mariners (6-5, 2-1) picked up their second dominating win over the Vikings (1-13, 0-3) this season after a 12-1 victory in the Mary Star of the Sea Cliff Classic Tournament April 1st.
St. Monica has now won five consecutive games and has climbed into second place in the Del Rey League behind St. Paul High School.
“We’re doing a nice job now,” Mariners coach Jack White said. “We came in with not a lot of varsity experience.
“We started out with a 1-5 record, so maybe it’s starting to click for them.”
The St. Monica offense started to click early against the Vikings, as the Mariners took a 7-0 lead after two innings, which was never threatened by St. Bernard.
The Mariners racked up six runs in the second inning during a scoring drive which included two RBIs (runs batted in) each by junior Vince Valdez and sophomore Michael DuVal.
St. Bernard struggled offensively early, but was able to pick up its only two runs in the game in the third inning.
Junior third baseman Isaac Quesada started off the inning with a single and scored the Vikings’ first run off an RBI by junior Peter Zirbel.
A wild pitch by St. Monica sophomore starting pitcher Giuliano Lepe allowed for junior second baseman Carlo Ramirez to score the Vikings’ other run for a 7-2 deficit.
“Mainly we’re looking to improve every game,” Vikings coach Vincent Cimmino said. “We have a lot of young guys and we’re still developing.
“A lot of the games we lost were by only a couple of runs, so we’re right there.”
As the wind started to pick up in the third inning, St. Monica’s aggressive attack on offense started to subside, and St. Bernard held the Mariners scoreless for three consecutive innings.
St. Bernard junior Elvis Mendoza tagged out DuVal at third base to prevent another potential Mariner run in the fourth inning.
St. Monica was held to three hits from the third inning through the fifth inning.
“We mostly wanted to put the ball in play,” White said. “The wind was blowing real hard today.
“It was hard to hit with the wind like this.”
Lepe, who finished with four strikeouts for St. Monica, continued to give St. Bernard trouble on offense, before being replaced by Mariner junior pitcher William Thompson in the sixth inning.
The Mariner offense got another boost in the four-run sixth inning, which was highlighted by a three-run “inside the park” home run by sophomore Taylor Gelbrich for a 10-2 lead.
Senior Alex Padilla scored the Mariners’ final run off a double by Valdez.
“This is a game of defense,” Cimmino said. “We can’t make errors in this game. Our hitting also needs improvement.”
Although St. Monica picked up a convincing victory, White acknowledged that his young team has some things to work on.
“We’re a pretty young team still,” he said. “More than anything we’re looking for consistency.”