By Lou Ponsi
Photo Credit: Michael Fernandez
ANAHEIM – Servite baseball coach Shawn Gilbert said the Friars' 3-1, down-to-the-wire victory over Mater Dei in the Trinity League opener on Tuesday is indicative of what his team should expect in nearly every game in the competitive league.
The first of a three-game set this week between the 12th-ranked Friars (11-3, 1-0) and No. 5 Monarchs (5-2, 0-1) was played at Servite High.
"You can't go to sleep on any of these game," Gilbert said. "They always come down to the end in this league, it seems like, and you have to play it to the last out. None of these teams are going to go away."
The game was a pitchers' duel between three Monarchs pitchers and Friars starter Knolton Clark, who came up one batter short of throwing a complete game.
In the seventh, Mater Dei had runners on first and second with no outs and then the bases loaded with two outs, and at that point Gilbert replaced Clark with Sean Galvin, who struck out Alonzo Tredwell swinging to secure the victory.
"Our mantra on the pitching staff is finish what you start and hopefully we won't have to go to the pen," Gilbert said. "He (Knolton) pitched his butt off. He threw 100 pitches and threw some some big pitches when he needed to. Unfortunately, at the end there he got a little tired."
Clark, who has committed to Purdue, allowed two hits, had five strikeouts and didn't walk a batter until the seventh inning.
Mater Dei starter Hunter Cope, who stands 6-foot-11, allowed three runs on three hits with six strikeouts and three walks over four innings, before he yielded to Garrett Riley, who pitched the fifth.
Scott Svendsen then came in and kept the Monarchs in it with a perfect sixth.
All three of Cope's walks came in the first inning and led to a run when Cope walked Jake Lappin with the bases, scoring C.J. Masciel from third.
With two outs in the second, Masciel doubled in Emmanuel Dean to give Servite a 2-0 lead.
An error and a passed ball led to Servite's third run in the third.
In the sixth, Joey Nicolai's RBI single scored C.J. Rodriguez for the Monarchs' lone run.
The teams play again Wednesday at 6:30 p.m. at Mater Dei and then return to Servite on Friday for a 3:15 p.m. game.