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Baseball: Tigers Hold Off Titans in Key Matchup

By Nathan Cambridge
The Review

With the season winding down, the San Marino and South Pasadena high school baseball teams were sitting tied atop the Rio Hondo League standings heading into their second-to-last matchup of the year.
The Titans hosted the Tigers on April 15 at McNamee Field, with the winner of the league matchup securing first in the standings.
South Pasadena grabbed an early lead and held off San Marino to win 6-5 in the second of three Rio Hondo League showdowns, securing the top spot ahead of the two teams’ final matchup.
“A huge win,” South Pasadena coach Jaime Garcia said. “We knew coming in both teams were tied at 6-2 and both teams tied last year for [the] league [title]. We knew this was a big game and we knew that we needed it.”
The Titans played the game without their coach, John Franklin, who was otherwise occupied.
“Coach is with his wife for their firstborn,” said San Marino assistant coach Wesley Frias, who served in Franklin’s absence. “Don’t know if it’s actually delivered yet, but he did text me last night that they were at the hospital, so hopefully they have a healthy little baby boy.”
San Marino had the bases loaded with one out in the bottom of the seventh. Parker Wilson represented the tying run at third. The winning run was on second in the form of Ryan Park, with Sid Danenhauer on first.
Tigers pitcher Charlie Vogel was on the mound, having just hit the last two Titans he had faced. The junior then proceeded to strike out the next two San Marino batters to escape the jam and claim the key league win.
“A bit nervous, but, you know, we were confident he would get the job done,” Garcia said.
In total San Marino left 13 players on the bases, including the bases loaded in the fifth and seventh innings.
South Pasadena scored three runs in the top of the first inning off of Titans starter JJ Wilson.
Luke Riffle led off with an infield single, and Wilson hit Griffin Johnson with a pitch to start off with two runners on base.
The left-hander struck out the next Tiger before Devin Robinson hit a single to load the bases.
The next Tiger popped out, bringing up Jon Bracamonte, who clobbered a bases-clearing double to deep left field to drive in three runs.
The Tigers loaded the bases again before JJ Wilson got a strikeout to end the top of the frame without further damage.
The hosts got one back in the bottom of the first inning. Danenhauer led off, drawing a walk from Tiger starter Nolan Adams. Then, with two outs, JJ Wilson hit the first of his three doubles to drive the senior home.
The Titans scored another in the bottom of the fourth. Tomás Bilvado led off with an infield single before advancing to second on a sacrifice bunt by Parker Wilson. Jamie Bercaw followed with a bunt single, putting runners at the corners. Bercaw stole second during the Titans next at-bat, which ended with one of Adams’ six strikeouts. Danenhauer followed hitting a ground ball to the Tiger shortstop, who made an error, allowing Bilvado to score.
South Pasadena responded in the top of the fifth with three runs. JJ Wilson got one out before the next two Tigers reached, ending his day after 96 pitches.
Coleman Morning came in to face Bracamonte and advanced the runners to second and third on a wild pitch. Morning threw another wild pitch on ball four, allowing a run to score. Elijah Garcia then recorded an RBI on a sacrifice bunt. Morning walked the next two Tigers to load the bases, after which he hit Riffle with a pitch to force in the final run of the top of the inning before a strikeout brought it to an end.
San Marino came back with a run in the bottom of the fifth. JJ Wilson hit a one-out double. Mikey Yessaian followed with an infield single and, as the throw to first went wild, Wilson scored on the error. The next two Titans reached to load the bases, but Adams struck out the next batter, then induced a pop out to end the threat.
At the top of the sixth, the first two Tigers reached against Morning. The Titans senior was replaced by Caleb Newton, who sat down the next three batters in order. The junior also pitched a scoreless inning at the top of the seventh.
In the bottom of the sixth, San Marino had a two-out rally that yielded two runs, beginning with Morning drawing a walk. JJ Wilson followed with a double to score Morning and advanced to third on the throw home. Yessaian followed that with an RBI single to plate JJ Wilson. Vogel then came on in relief and struck out Bilvado to usher in the seventh inning.
“Hopefully we fail up, learn from our mistakes and get better,” Frias said.
It was the second meeting of the teams this season, with the first being won on the road 7-2 by the Titans March 11. The rubber game to determine the winner of the season series and go a long way in determining the league champion is back on the Tigers’ home field April 18.
“[San Marino] is a great team and we are looking forward to another great game,” Garcia said.

The Tigers secured an extra-inning victory over visiting La Cañada in a league game on April 11.
Bracamonte, who went 2-for-4 with a pair of doubles, two RBIs and a stolen base at the plate, pitched five innings with six strikeouts. Junior Leo Castillo pitched two innings with two strikeouts, while Vogel pitched a scoreless inning of relief. Sophomore Aaron Kawasaki went 2-for-3 with a triple, two RBIs and a walk, Adams registered a hit, two runs and two walks, and senior Jesse Chavez tallied a hit, a run and a walk. Garcia walked once and scored a run, while junior Nathan Olivarez and Robinson each scored a run.
— Sebastian Moore contributed to this report.

First published in the April 19 print issue of the South Pasadena Review.

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