CHS squeaks by South Hills in thriller 12-11
Wolfpack baseball took on top-ranked South Hills in a midseason Sierra League encounter on Tuesday afternoon. A late rally by the Huskies failed to tip the scales in their favor, after both teams struggled to get hitters out. The Pack withstood a 3-run 7th inning by the “Dawgs” and closed it out for the 12-11 victory. Claremont is now tied for first place in league with South Hills.
Claremont came into the game on the back of a 3-game winning streak, although the Pack lost to San Juan Hills by one run on Saturday. South Hills also won their last 3 Sierra League games, and have had no trouble manufacturing runs this season. Coach Geoff Ranney noted the strength of South Hills coming into the game.
“They are always tough. South Hills won league last year,”?Coach Ranney said. “I had to get the guys ready to go, and to ignore the hype about the other team.”
The game exploded in the bottom of the second inning, when Claremont put up 5 runs. South Hills responded with 5 of their own in the next frame. Coach Ranney commented on the topsy-turvy nature of the game.
“Although this game was exciting for people to watch, I hope they are not all like this. It was a real back-and-forth affair. I kept our pitcher in the game because I knew he had the mental strength to calm down and play like I know he can,” he said.
South Hills changed pitchers after the second inning. Trailing 6-5 in the bottom of the third inning, second baseman Jeremy Giles knocked in the tying run with a base hit to left. Shortstop Nick Costello then smacked another single up the middle with runners on second and third to make the score 8-6. The Huskies again went to their bullpen for rightie Anthony Fickwirth.
Sophomore southpaw Tyler Witt settled into the game after seeing his team take the lead for the second time. Witt threw a scoreless fourth frame for the Wolfpack, and then saw his team tack on 2 more runs.
After a scoreless fifth inning during which both Witt and Fickwith tossed 1-2-3 frames, South Hills bounced back. With 2 out and one on, Huskies catcher Clayton Pearson singled to left. Witt then walked center fielder Niko Contreras to load the bases, and shortstop Gabriel Chavez cracked it out to right field to bring home 2 runs.
Claremont regained their 4 run lead when Matt Rhinehart singled with one out, then Fickwirth walked 2 and hit one batter to bring Rhinehart home. A wild pitch then scored Giles to make the score 12-8. South Hills gave Claremont a scare in the top of the final frame. David Valdivia took the mound for the Pack in the seventh.
With 2 out and a runner on third, the Dawgs’ Daniel Ramos picked up an RBI with a single. With 2 runners on base, Valdivia got South Hills’ Pearson down to his last strike. Pearson went the other way with the outside fastball, blooping it out to right to bring home 2 more runs. With fans’ hearts in their throats, Valdivia finally got the third out to end the ballgame.
“It was a real testament to the guys that they kept their composure against this team,”?‘Coach Ranney added. “I will stay with the hot hands in pitching and hitting when we take the field against South Hills tomorrow. They will be expecting to exact revenge, so we have to play our game and not get caught up in it all. We have 9 games left in the season to keep ourselves top of the division.”
Heading into their mid-season break, the Wolfpack are still undefeated in the Pacific League after 2 more easy wins. Claremont boys volleyball swept both Hoover and Burbank to stay atop the division, and currently rank sixth in all of Division II. Stephen Zetterberg had over 30 kills in the 2 games, while Lane Giammalva contributed 21 assists last week. Eron Bechor leads the team in digs as Claremont’s libero.
The Pack will be in action again next week when they travel to Glendale on Wednesday, April17 at 3:30 p.m.
TRACK AND FIELD
Wolfpack boys and girls track competed in different events last week. Girls track went to the Arcadia Invitational on Friday and Saturday, with Brittany Brown taking third in the 100-meter dash.
The Pack’s 4×800 relay team finished 10th out of 24, and 4×1600 team finished 11th out of 27 teams. The Claremont boys went to the South Pasadena Tiger Invite. Top performances there included Adam Johnson and Dylan Powers finishing third and fourth in their respective heats, and Jimmy Baeskens finishing first in the 3200-meter run. Claremont races against on Tuesday, April 16 at 3:15 p.m. at Damien.
– Chris Oakley