MARINE PARK — A successful season has come to an end for St. Monica’s baseball team.
The Mariners, who were champions of the Camino Real League, came into the California Interscholastic Federation Southern Section Division V playoffs hoping to parlay a winning season into a deep run into the postseason.
It just wasn’t meant to be.
St. Monica lost to Aquinas 8-2 on Friday at Marine Park to end the Mariners’ season.
“I’m disappointed because we didn’t play our best game,” Head Coach Jack White said. “Our defense, which has carried us all year, just didn’t work today.”
While White was particularly displeased with his infield that made four errors on the day, he said he was proud of what his team accomplished this season and looks forward to next season.
“I feel really bad for the seniors,” White said. “They really did well.”
Senior Connor Walsh started the game for St. Monica and cruised through the first inning. He began the second inning well by forcing Aquinas’ Jonathon Ruiz to fly out to center field. The second batter, Jimmy Jones, followed and quickly hit a ground ball to third baseman Kyle Schwan, but he was unable to field it cleanly, allowing Jones to reach first on an error.
Aquinas wasted little time capitalizing on the miscue. The next man up, Ryan Smith cracked a double to left field scoring Jones making the score 1-0. Walsh forced the next man up to fly to left field, but that success was fleeting. Jimmy Seter followed with an RBI single bringing home Smith and giving the Falcons a 2-0 lead.
“We usually rely on our defense keeping us in games,” St. Monica’s Jose Munoz said. “Our errors gave them extra outs that they took advantage of.”
Already leading 2-0 in the second inning with two outs and Seter on first, the Falcons again forced St. Monica to come through with a defensive stop, but the Mariners couldn’t oblige. Chris Beauchamp hit a single to right field that advanced Seter to third, but the Mariners attempting to get Beauchamp at first over threw the ball allowing Seter to come around with what would become the winning run making the score 3-0.
From there, the Falcons’ Tyler Stirewalt, who has committed to play quarterback for Fresno State, held the Mariners in check for most of the afternoon with his only mistake being a two-RBI triple by Munoz in the bottom of the third inning. Stirewalt finished the day with nine strikeouts, three walks and just four hits in five innings pitched.
“My day started with great words of encouragement from my coaches,” Stirewalt said. “I had a great defense behind me and I was locating my pitches.”
Aquinas moves on to face the winner of the Woodcrest Christian-Montclair Prep game on Tuesday. The results of that game were unavailable at presstime.