By Jeremy Balan
The formula for Archbishop Riordan High School’s success in the West Catholic Athletic League baseball season has been simple – runs equal wins.
When the Crusaders score more than a single run, they are 2-0. When they score one or less they’re 0-4, and that rule proved true again on Friday in a 6-1 loss to visiting Bellarmine.
Riordan (8-6, 2-4) was limited to just three hits, worked five walks and stranded five runners. Two of the hits came from junior second baseman Matt Melendez, who also drove in the Crusaders’ only run on a two-out RBI single that cut the Bellarmine lead to 2-1 in the bottom of the second inning.
“We’ve been getting the the timely hits, but today, it didn’t happen,” said first-year Riordan head coach Matt Gallegos. “The WCAL is unforgiving. One day, you’re on top of the world, then the next day – it’s a constant battle.”
A day after beating Mitty in extra innings on complete-game performance from starting pitcher Jacob Blea, the Crusaders again got a complete game from Sean Donovan, but this time he took the loss.
The senior right-hander surrendered eight hits and one walk on just 84 pitches. Five runs were earned, but after he surrendered two runs in the top of the first inning, the Crusaders never saw a lead. It is the third complete game of the season for Donovan.
“Sean started off slow and that hasn’t been his MO this year,” Gallegos said. “Today, he had his ball up and he wasn’t spotting his pitches very well.”
Two of those balls up in the zone were punished by Bellarmine hitters.
Junior first baseman Jake Whipple pounded a belt-high breaking ball over the fence in straightaway center field in the third inning and senior right fielder Raul Ray hit a ball over the left-field fence in the sixth. Both were solo home runs.
The Bells (9-7, 4-3) also got a complete game from their starter, right-hander Nick Medieros. The senior struck out six and struggled early with command, but the wildness threw off Riordan the hitters the rest of the way.
“You can be effectively wild and if they’re not expecting everything down the middle, it keeps them on their toes,” said Bellarmine head coach Mike Rodriguez. “One of the issues Nick has is that he gets a little to amped up to begin, and when he gets tired that energy level drops, and he starts to hit the zone a little bit more.”
The Crusaders still have plenty of room to grow, but the signs of improvement are noticeable and they’ve already equaled their league win total from the last two seasons combined.
“We want to do something different, of course,” Gallegos said. “Winning is a mindset and that’s what we’re trying to build.”
B – Jack Thoreson singles, Joey Persons and Jake Whipple score
R – Matt Melendez singles, Eduardo Santos scores
B – Whipple hits a solo home run
B – Andrew Mallon reaches on an error, Raul Ray scores
B – Johnny Regan singles, Conner Jauch scores
B – Ray hits a solo home run