San Marino ready for latest playoff challenge
Since Bishop Amat is kind of like a minor league team in terms of its talent level, here’s what the Lancers have to look forward to at McNamee Field, which is as nice as some lower division minor league stadiums.
By Scott Galetti, Staff Writer
Facing tough competition is nothing new to San Marino High School’s baseball team.
The Titans (17-6-1) are used to butting heads with the likes of Monrovia and Temple City in the Rio Hondo League.
But all of their competition combined might not be enough to prepare them for the challenge that awaits them today at McNamee Field when they host defending CIF-Southern Section Division V champion Bishop Amat (24-4) at 3:15 p.m.
The Lancers have been an opponent’s worst nightmare in scoring 229 runs and allowing only 86.
Andrew Mistone (.541, two homers 31 RBIs), Jordan Fox (.515, four homers, 21 RBIs), Tommy Reyes (.494, two homers, 35 RBIs) and Keith Murakami (.333, 32 RBIs) comprise what can be described as a murderers’ row.
The pitching staff has collected back-to-back complete-game shutouts, 3-0 by Paul Paez (9-0) over Downey Calvary Chapel and 5-0 by Brady Zuniga (5-2) over La Puente.
“I think the biggest thing we need to do is believe in ourselves,” San Marino coach Mack Paciorek said. “Every pitcher has to believe that they’ve gotten good hitters out before and they’re capable of doing it again.”
Bishop Amat poses a monumental challenge, but Paciorek still believes the Rio Hondo League does nothing but prepare his team for situations like this.
“It prepares us in a huge way,” Paciorek said. “Any time you go up against most every team in the Rio Hondo League, you know it’s going to be a dogfight, and you’re going to face some good athletes and competitors, and that’s what were going to expect to see on Friday.”
San Marino advanced with a 5-1 victory over Campbell Hall on Tuesday. The Titans will have to find a way to contend with the Lancers without pitcher/third baseman Nick Wilson for at least four innings after the senior right-hander worked all seven innings in the win.
With the seats at McNamee Field expected to be filled, Paciorek is hoping the home field will provide an edge.
“It’ll be a nice edge to have our fans behind us and we’re going to expect them to be fired up and ready to go,” Paciorek said. “In all honesty, in order to prove you belong, you have to want an opportunity against the defending champions and you have to go out there and work hard.”
Added Wilson: “If we can maintain a one-run lead or deficit, I think we can make up for that in those three innings that I pitch.”