SAN JOSE, Calif. - Nobody expects a championship baseball game to end by the mercy rule.
Then again, Archbishop Mitty (San Jose) has a very special squad.
The Monarchs, No. 5 in the MaxPrep Xcellent national rankings, received a single, double and home run to go along with four RBIs from Brett Fuller to whitewash arch-West Catholic Athletic League rival Bellarmine (San Jose) 12-0 in the Central Coast Section Division I title game at San Jose Municipal Stadium Saturday night.
Yes, the game was called after five innings due to the state's 10-run mercy rule. The Monarchs showed little of it during the shortened contest.
Mitty finished 31-3 and riding an eight-game win streak. USF-bound southpaw Alex Balog allowed a single hit and struck out three in his short but dominant effort.
It was an extremely satisfying win for the Monarchs, who lost in the last two CCS finals. This was their fourth CCS crown and first since 2005.
“The performance today is certainly how you dream it up,” Mitty coach Bill Hutton said. “We had played like this early in the season: get the early lead and play downhill the rest of the game.”
That’s how this one certainly went as Mitty struck for five in the first, on a Fuller run-scoring double, a two-run triple by Preston Caldera and RBI singles by Stephen Meade and Kyle Alwyn.
In the second, Fuller made it 7-0 with a two-run single, scoring Alex Silva and James Roberts. The Monarchs scored three more times in the frame on an error, walk and singles by Alwyn and Silva. That made it 10-0.
Fuller capped the scoring with a two-run homer to left. It was his team-best eighth homer of the year and he finished with a team-high 38 RBI.
“He has hit like this all year,” Hutton said of Fuller. “He just has a lot of natural ability and if you throw him a mistake, he is going to hit it.”
Balog finished 8-2 with an 1.01 ERA on the season to go along with other extremely strong pitchers Tyler Davis(11-0, 2.87 ERA) and Johnny Melero( 9-0, 1.31). The team ERA finished at 2.20 and batting average at .331.
No wonder the team finished 31-3.
Bellarmine, which defeated Mitty one out of three meetings, finished 20-13.
Burlingame 7, Palo Alto 4
The Burlingame Panthers jumped on Palo Alto) pitcher Scott Witte for five runs in the first inning en route to a win in the CCS Division II championship game that ended the Vikings’ 24-game winning streak.
“We try to be aggressive and we really work on our hitting,” said Burlingame coach Rich Sciutto. “We also feel we have a strong defense so it was huge for us to jump out to a big early lead like that.”
The Panthers came out hitting, racking up six basehits in the first frame while sending nine batters to the plate. With one out, Mitch Foley singled to center. Chris Blanton followed with a single to right, but the next batter flied out for the second out of the inning.
Ryan Bender emptied the bases with a two-run triple to centerfield and Nik Gutierrez followed with a single to right field. After a walk to Forrest Armanino, Sammy Phan doubled to score two runs and put the Panthers up 5-0.
Burlingame (24-6-1) added two more runs in the fifth inning on RBI singles by Gutierrez and Amanino.
While Burlingame was getting to Witte for five runs, D. J. Sharabi was keeping the Vikings off the basepaths. He allowed just one hit through the first four innings and benefitted from some strong defensive efforts.
The Panthers turned two double plays in the first two innings and got a catch on a foul pop fly with the bases loaded by Chris Blanton, who reached over the fence along the first base side to make the third out of the third inning.
However the Vikings (29-4) entered the championship game with a 24-game winning streak and weren’t about to go down without a fight. Conner Raftery opened the fifth inning with a solo shot over the left field fence while Joc Pederson hit one an estimated 400 feet over the right field fence to score two runs.
Palo Alto added another run in the frame to cut Burlingame’s lead to 7-4.
“You knew they were going to make a run at it,” said Sciutto. “They are too good of a team to not expect that.”
The Panthers, however, saved their best defensive play of the game for the last. In the bottom of the seventh with a runner on first base and one out,
Amanino made a diving catch on a sinking pop fly in shallow right field. He then popped up and doubled the runner off of first base to end the game and set off a wild celebration by the Panthers.
Gutierrez was 3-for-4 for the Panthers while Blanton was 2-for-2 with a double. Peterson led the Vikings with a 3-for-3 effort.
Menlo School 8, Hillsdale 2
Not all fairy tales have happy endings and the Knight in shining armor doesn’t always come to the rescue.
Instead, the No. 16 seeded Hillsdale (San Mateo) Knights saw their fairy tale postseason come to an end, vanquished by the hard-hitting Menlo (Atherton) Knights, in the CCS Division III championship.
Menlo, the third seed in the tournament, used solid hitting from the bottom half of the lineup to put up a pair of rallies, a two-run tally in the second inning and a five-run outburst in the fourth, to end Hillsdale’s season.
“It has been an interesting week psychologically,” said Menlo coach Craig Schoof. “We went from thinking we were playing Monte Vista Christian to playing Hillsdale. Then of course we had soundly defeated them early in the year and then we came out and fell behind in the first inning.”
Menlo was initially expected to play Monte Vista Christian in the semifinals, but Sacred Heart Cathedral was given a forfeit win after it was determined an MVC pitcher had thrown too many innings during the week. The Knights then defeated Sacred Heart Cathedral 4-3 to advance to the final.
Menlo defeated Hillsdale 24-3 back in March, but that was long before Hillsdale made its magical run. Hillsdale reached the postseason as a No. 16 seed and then knocked off No. 1 seed Scotts Valley 8-7 and then beat Santa Cruz 11-5. In the semifinals Hillsdale bumped Soledad 3-1 to advance to the finals.
Hillsdale then took an early lead with a run in the first inning against Menlo. Grant Cecil singled and came home on a Kody Barden double for a 1-0 advantage.
But Menlo took the lead in the bottom of the second thanks to the hitting of catcher Jackson Badger. After struggling most of the season at the plate, Badger came through with a two-run double to deep left field that scored Freddy Avis and Robert Wickers for a 2-1 advantage.
“I’m so happy for Jackson,” said Schoof. “He’s really had a tough time at the plate this year, and today he got us the big hit to get us started. It’s great that he can go out his senior year like that.”
Hillsdale nearly got out of the inning unscathed as Wickers appeared to ground into an inning-ending double play. But his grounder took a bad hop, leaving both Avis and Wickers safe at first and second.
The Knights rallied for five runs in the fourth to take a 7-1 lead and once again Avis, Wickers and Badger were in the middle of the rally. Avis led off the inning with a double to deep centerfield and Wickers followed with an RBI double to right. Badger’s single to left field scored Wickers to make it 4-1.
After a fielder’s choice got Badger at second, Matt Crowder singled and Danny Diekroeger hit a sacrifice fly to left field that scored Phil Anderson. Jake Bruml kept the rally going with a double to left for the fifth run of the inning.
Hillsdale countered with a run in the fifth on a single by Cecil and a double by Barden, but Menlo added another run in the sixth on consecutive singles by Diekroeger and Bruml. Diekroeger finished the game with two hits, including a double, and an RBI.
"We just tried to stay focused early in the game,” said Diekroeger, who is headed to Stanford. “Fred (Avis) kept it together on the mound and we finally came out hitting.”
Avis got the win, going 4.2 innings and allowing one run on four hits with three strikeouts.
The Knights end the season 25-6 while Hillsdale ends the year at 19-12.