Sat, May 07 2011 12:18 AM Posted By: Phillip Brents
The stage appears set for a dramatic ending to this year’s Mesa League baseball pennant chase. The defending league champion Bonita Vista Barons find themselves alone atop the standings at the midpoint of league play. Whether they remain there will be determined over the course of the next five games.
The Barons improved to 5-0 in Mesa play following Wednesday’s 3-1 victory at Hilltop, relegating the Lancers further down the six-team table at 2-3 in league play.
“The toughest part of our schedule — we’re in it now,” BV head coach Vince Gervais said.
That’s an understatement.
The Barons host Hilltop to conclude the teams’ two-game series on Friday. Next up are two crucial match-ups against preseason favorite Eastlake (4-1 in league play, 19-5 overall) and then two games against Otay Ranch to close out regular season play.
So far, Gervais’ squad has weathered a challenging schedule to post a 14-9 overall record.
“We didn’t have a lot of emotion (Wednesday against Hilltop),” the BVHS skipper said. “We had to battle, though we did hit the ball hard. That was encouraging.”
Alex Quiros (2-3) started and went the first six innings, allowing one run on five hits with five strikeouts. Carlos Herrera drove in the Barons’ first two runs, including a hit in the fourth inning to snap a 1-1 tie. Justin DiStefano tripled in the next frame and came in on a sacrifice fly by catcher Brian Lockey.
Raymon Campillo scored the visitors’ first run while Herrera drove in Alexis Ayala to put them up 2-1.
Troy Cruz pitched the final inning to earn the save.
The Lancers had one player thrown out at the plate in the fifth inning and stranded two runners on base in the seventh inning, including a runner at third base.
Alejandro Bernal, who threw five innings, scored Hilltop’s run in the third inning. Steven Sherwood delivered the clutch run-scoring base hit.
Gervais said he is not looking past Friday’s rematch against Hilltop.
“It’s always tough playing the same team twice in the same week and even tougher trying to beat the same team twice in one week,” he said.
The Lancers dropped to 11-11 overall.
“We battled back but not far enough,” HHS coach Kurt Gritts said.
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