BASEBALL: Titans edge closer to first

San Marino jumps out to 5-0 lead before holding on in 5-3 win over Temple City.

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Above: San Marino’s Nick Wilson ,18, earned a he first inning during a baseball game between San Marino and Temple City April 16. 2008 at the Temple City High School. (SGVN/Staff Photo Keith Birmingham/SXSports)

By Keith Lair, Staff Writer

TEMPLE CITY – San Marino High School baseball coach Mack Paciorek was waiting for the hits to come. It was just a matter of time.
That time was Wednesday afternoon in a key Rio Hondo League game against Temple City. The Titans put together eight hits in the first two innings en route to a 5-3 victory in a mid-season battle for second place in league play.
But it wasn’t just the Titans’ bats. Pitcher Nick Wilson pitched a complete game and his defense made big plays to preserve the victory.
“Early, we did things right,” Paciorek said. “They came out and swung the bats well. That’s what we’ve been waiting for. We needed them to do that and stake themselves on a nice little lead.”
The Titans scored all of their runs in the first three innings and then withstood several rally attempts from the Rams.
Wilson could thank his defense. The infield made three diving catches to save base hits and center fielder Chandler Caldwell made two running catches against the fence.
“The play in center field, the play in left field, the line drive, they played a very good defensive game,” Temple City coach Barry Bacon said. “It was not Wilson’s best game, but they kept the pressure on.”
“That was it,” Paciorek said of the defense. “We made big plays to stop some big innings. We gave up a couple, but the big plays were made more often. Our guys did a good job.”
San Marino clean-up hitter Dylan Bensinger had three hits and two RBIs, and helped chase Temple City’s Dusty Sanderson after two innings.
“We were a lot better,” Bensinger said of the Titans’ hitting. “We came out swinging at a lot more first pitches and made things happen. It was the best strategy.”
The Titans scored twice in the first two innings off Sanderson.
San Marino got the lead to 5-0 in the third on a walk, stolen base, passed ball and sacrifice fly.
That’s when the Rams – without Will Do – began to rally. An error, Morgan Hatch single and walk loaded the bases. Sanderson walked to score a run and the Rams made it 5-2 on a fielder’s choice.
“We dug ourselves a five-run hole that with a guy like Wilson, it is tough to battle back from,” Bacon said. “But we were a base hit or two away from getting this thing interesting.”
That they were. Justin Smith and Jordan Halladay shut out San Marino the rest of the way. The Rams left a runner on third base in the fourth inning, runners on first and third in the fifth and first and second in the sixth, all without scoring.
“No lead is safe in this league,” Paciorek said. “We’re very fortunate that Nick clutched up on the mound.”
The Rams finally broke through in the seventh when Sanderson’s single turned into a three-bagger when center fielder Caldwell misplayed the hop. Another infield save on a grounder prevented a base hit, but Sanderson still scored.
Do was unable to play because he was ejected from the Rams’ last game on a play at the plate.