By Jeremy Balan
Since the Academic Athletic Association adopted it’s current two-tiered divisional system in 2007, only one B Division team has beaten an A Division team, when Mission beat Balboa in 2007.
The trend has continued this season, as B Division teams have gone 0-23 against the top tier, but it would best serve the AAA’s elite not to sleep on Marshall High School.
Behind two solid pitchers, the Phoenix have been dominant in B Division games, outscoring opponents 77-11, including a 10-0 win over Mission on Wednesday at Crocker Amazon Playground, en route to a 7-0 record in intra-division games.
“There still is baseball on the southeast side of the City,” said Marshall head coach Gerald Rankin. “We’ve started something good here.”
With both teams heading into the game undefeated in B Division play, the Phoenix (8-8, 7-4) got a game pitching performance from sophomore starter Aumen Holliday, who struck out 11 batters and allowed just three hits in five innings of work. Holliday, who only threw 60 pitches, could have gone further, but the game was called in the fifth inning due to the 10-run mercy rule.
“I was just staying focused and taking my time,” Holliday said. “Every time [I pitch, my team] looks for me to go out on the mound and throw strikes. When I strike them out, they don’t need to do anything in the outfield or infield.”
A transfer student from Alameda, Holliday has a 4-0 record and a 0.28 ERA in four starts against Bay, Burton, Jordan and Mission.
“He a focused little kid, who has played baseball for a long time,” Rankin said. “He knows that if he throws strikes, he can get these guys out. He has settled in with these guys.”
Holliday also got the Phoenix on the board first, with an RBI single in the second inning, and would go 2-for-2 at the plate with a run scored.
While Holliday held of the Bears’ bats, Mission senior starting pitcher Edgar Linares also pitched impressively, keeping batters off-balance with a biting slow curveball, but didn’t get much support from the Mission defense.
The Bears (7-7-1, 4-5-1) committed seven errors and only two of the runs charged to Linares were earned.
“We’ve got to field the ball. That’s what it comes down to,” said Mission head coach Dan Grossman. “Linares was pitching his ass off and we just dropped the ball for him. I told him that this is what happens in life sometimes. You play hard and people let you down sometimes.”
Both teams figure to be the two B Division representatives in the AAA playoffs, and both coaches believe they can surprise A Division teams in the postseason.
With so many games between the divisions resulting in severely lopsided results, Marshall has arguably played the top division the toughest, with single-digit losses to prospective playoff opponents Galileo, Balboa and Lincoln.
“We can surprise someone,” Rankin said, winking. “The AAA is pitching dominant. If you have two dominant pitchers, you can go a long way.”
Marshall – Aumen Holliday singles, Marcus Blacksher scores
Marshall – Holliday scores on a wild pitch
Marshall – Giovanni Carballo scores on a throwing error
Marshall – Juan Cordero scores on a throwing error
Marshall – Christopher Java scores on a throwing error
Marshall – Jim Mai reaches on a fielder’s choice, Blacksher score
Marshall – Carballo reaches on error, Mai scores
Marshall – Andrew Carreon reaches on error, Carballo scores
Marshall – Cordero singles, Jimmy Yeung scores
Marshall – Java singles, Andrew Carreon scores