By Jeremy Balan
SAN BRUNO — Stuart Hall got its first two batters of the game to score and would not put another run across for the rest of the game — fortunately for the Knights, that was enough to clinch their first Bay Counties League West baseball championship in school history.
Riding another standout performance from sophomore starting pitcher Ben Carrasco, the Knights held off Marin Academy the rest of the way to win 2-1 on Saturday at Skyline College.
“I’ve got excitement going through my blood right now,” said Stuart Hall head coach Eddie Russell. “More than anything, I’m just proud of these kids. It’s just a culmination of everything we’ve worked for.”
Carrasco struck out nine to collect the complete-game win, but after retiring the first eight Marin Academy batters, allowed at least a baserunner in every following inning.
“Ben, in my opinion, bar-none, is the best player in our league,” Russell said. “The most impressive part is that he’s only a sophomore. The BCL West can look forward to seeing him for two more years.”
Marin Academy (8-8) scored its only run on three consecutive base hits in the third inning, but could not get a runner past third base after that point.
“It’s really tough when you start getting those runners in scoring position. You start getting nervous and you really gotta focus on making your pitches,” Carrasco said. “I have confidence that if I do that and get ground balls, my defense will do the rest.”
The Knights (16-5) got on the board first on an RBI groundout by Carrasco and an RBI single from Alex Asadorian, then only tallied four hits in the next five innings.
“We knew it was going to be a close game,” said Marin Academy head coach Justin Hawkins. “We’re disappointed we didn’t win, obviously, but we’re pretty proud of the way we played. If things fall the other way, things might be different.”
After allowing the runs in the first, Marin Academy starting pitcher Andrew Hove locked down the Knights the rest of the way. Hove also had an opportunity to keep the game alive in the ninth and sent a deep fly ball to left field, but Asadorian tracked the ball down for the final out of the game.
“He’s been the workhorse for us this year,” Hawkins said. “The team feeds off of him and we got down early, but the team saw him settle down and then settled down after that.”
With the win, Stuart Hall earns the league’s automatic bid to the North Coast Section Division V playoffs, while Marin Academy will have to hope for an at-large bid.
SH – Ben Carrasco grounds out, Connor Bottum scores
SH – Alex Asadorian singles, T.J. Najera scores
MA – Peter Schneider doubles, Andrew Hove scores
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