By Jeremy Balan
SAN BRUNO – The University High School baseball team worked its way in and out of trouble through five innings on the road against Capuchino on Friday and it caught up with the Red Devils in the sixth.
University led 4-2 in the third inning and the game was tied at 4-4 after the fifth, but two errors and a balk opened the door for a four-run Capuchino sixth inning, to give the Mustangs a 8-4 non-league win.
“We can talk about the sixth inning, but I’d prefer to talk about the whole game,” said University head coach Gary Johnson. “We made five errors today and one of the things I’ve stressed from the beginning is that because we’re not a big-fly team, we have to minimize our mistakes. If we didn’t make those five errors today, we win this baseball game.”
Four of the Capuchino runs were unearned, but the Mustangs (6-8-1) made plenty of solid contact, including three deep fly balls over University outfielders’ heads.
University starting pitcher John O’Malley went 4 2/3 innings, and allowed three earned runs on seven hits and five walks, but consistently got out of trouble. University pitchers allowed 23 baserunners but the Mustangs stranded 12.
“We need to get those runs in during crucial situations, especially with less than two outs,” said Capuchino head coach Matt Wilson. “With less than two outs, there’s no excuse for not scoring a guy on third and that’s something we’ll go over.”
O’Malley, a sophomore right-hander, also went 2-for-4 as the Red Devils’ No. 3 hitter and tied the game at 2-2 with a RBI double in the third inning.
“He kept us in the game and he’s been a workhorse for us,” Johnson said. “For a kid who could not pitch last year because he had shoulder problems, I think he’s really pitching well. It’s unfortunate we didn’t support him the way we needed to.”
The Red Devils (7-2) were aggressive at the plate and also got a solid performance from senior left fielder Jonah Newman, who went 2-for-3 with a double and two RBIs.
“I didn’t know what to expect, because we’ve never played them before,” Wilson said. “They’re not flashy, but they’re aggressive. They’re not afraid to swing the bat and I love to see that in a team.”
The Red Devils started four sophomores and a freshman, but sit in first place in the Bay Counties League West with a 3-0 record. University hasn’t won a BCL West title since 2005, but Johnson believes his team is the favorite to dethrone defending-champion Stuart Hall.
“We believe, because we are the first-place team, that we are the team to beat,” Johnson said.
C – Tim Gretter singles, Ryan Davis scores
C – Eddie Cecchi reaches on an error, Gretter scores
U – Jonah Newman doubles, Benjamin Shapiro scores
U – John O’Malley doubles, Stephen Nemy scores
U – John Schember singles, Warren Benevides scores
U – Newman singles, O’Malley scores
C – Bill Wood singles, Cecchi scores
C – Gretter singles, Kyle Patterson scores
C – Cecchi reaches on an error, Lucci Molina scores
C – Devaughn Foster doubles; Cecchi, Christian Bautista and Wood score