By Keith Lair, Staff Writer
SAN GABRIEL – Mark Roche threw his glove in disgust as he walked into the visiting dugout.
The Arroyo High School pitcher had just given up back-to-back singles to Gabrielino in the fourth inning on Wednesday. The first, by Vince Albelo, tied the Mission Valley League game.
“Our pitcher had a little sore arm there, so we kind of had to make the change,” Arroyo coach D.J. MacKinnon said. “That wasn’t the plan. It’s early in the year. We don’t want to do anything that’s going to prolong the injury. There are a lot more games to be played.”
Roche’s arm was not sore at the beginning of the game, MacKinnon said, and when the switch was made his arm didn’t appear to be sore. It appeared as if MacKinnon was just being safe by sending David Guerrero to the mound in replacing a battling pitcher.
Guerrero induced John Moreno to hit the ball in the infield for an apparent third out. But third baseman Roman Davales’ throw was high and Albelo scored from second base to break the tie.
Sophomore Brendan Campbell then hit a two-run triple and Gabrielino escaped with a 6-4 victory. The Eagles, the three-time reigning league champions, avoided an 0-2 start in league play.
CLICK ON THREAD TO CONTINUE READING
“We just got that hit, got Roche out, and we just got after (Guerrero),” said Campbell, who went 2 for 3 with three RBIs while batting in the eighth spot. “Our approach changed completely after he went out.”
Angel Acosta scattered six hits, avoided trouble numerous times, and struck out 11 en route to the complete-game victory.
“Angel’s clearly the best pitcher we have and we can always count on him in league,” Gabrielino coach Joe Laski said. “It seems like he turns it up a notch.”
He only gave up hits in two innings, the fourth and seventh, when the Knights, also 1-1 in league, scored two runs each. The sophomore’s most dangerous stretch was in the seventh. An error, a pinch-hit single by Jonathan Becerra and a walk loaded the bases with no outs.
“That’s part of a learning process of a young pitcher,” Laski said. “Luckily, we had a big fourth inning. We had a little bit of a lead and we could afford to let him make some mistakes and work his way out and he did.”
He got a strikeout, a fielder’s choice to score a run and Anthony Miller singled to make it 6-4.
“We had them, we just couldn’t finish,” said Miller, who went 2 for 4. “We were not hitting the ball and everything just fell apart. We have to learn to finish games.”
The Knights had No. 3 hitter Roche at the plate representing the winning run. But Acosta struck him out.
“I thought (Laski) was going to take me out after that walk,” Acosta said. “I told him I’ve got it; let me pitch the rest. I had to get my offspeed (pitches) working better.”
Gabrielino opened the season 1-5, but Laski said the start was nothing to be concerned about.
“It was not frustrating,” he said. “Attitude-wise and work-ethic wise, this is one of the best groups I’ve ever had. Regardless of wins and losses, they’re here to work. Normally I don’t take it that way. But with these guys they’re ready to go every day.”