MARINE PARK — St. Monica’s Anthony Yoshinaga picked a great time to come through with the first walk-off hit of his life.
The senior catcher came to the plate in the bottom of the ninth inning, the score tied and the weight of his team’s season on his back. He responded with a sharp line drive to right field scoring Daniel White with the game winner against Cathedral High School on Friday at Marine Park. The game’s final score was 4-3 in extra innings improving St. Monica’s record to 13-9 overall and 9-4 in Camino Real League play.
“I pictured it in my head,” Yoshinaga said. “I thought I was going to blow it.”
The hit was a bit of redemption for Yoshinaga, who made a bad throw to second base during the fourth inning allowing Cathedral to tie the game at 2-2. He was also involved in a play in the ninth inning that gave Cathedral a 3-2 lead when St. Monica relief pitcher Kyle Schwan threw a pitch in the dirt against Cathedral’s Anthony Sanchez. While it was ruled a wild pitch, Yoshinaga had trouble scooping the ball up allowing Matthew Baltazar to score and giving Cathedral a short-lived lead.
“I was down there preparing my tough loss speech,” Head Coach Jack White said. “I’m just happy with the way it turned out.”
In fact, Jack White was one out away from having to console his team.
After Cathedral scored in the top half of the ninth giving the Phantoms a lead, St. Monica’s Brenden Boesgaard began the bottom of the inning by being struck out by Sergio Luna who pitched a complete game in the loss. Hector Santiesteban was then promptly beaned and took first on the play. With Michael Redondo at the plate, Santiesteban attempted to steal second but was gunned down by Cathedral catcher Matthew Baltazar.
With two outs and the prospect of a Mariner comeback looking grim, Redondo too was hit by a Luna pitch, giving St. Monica a second life. He later took second on a passed ball. The good fortune continued for St. Monica as Daniel White reached on an error by shortstop Chris Flores putting runners at first and third.
Cathedral Head Coach Julian Deyer then decided to intentionally walk Jose Munoz loading the bases for Schwan, who earlier entered the game to relieve starter Andy Loef. Luna, who struggled with his control late in the game, walked Schwan bringing home the tying run in the form of Redondo.
With the sacks still juiced, Yoshinaga came to the batter’s box with the game on the line. He wasted little time stroking the third pitch he saw to right with the thrilling game winner.
“It was just lovely,” Yoshinaga said.
Next up for the Mariners is a two-game set with Bosco Tech. The two teams are currently tied for first in league and the series will decide the Camino Real title.
“We control our own destiny,” Jack White said. “All we have to do is win.”