By Miguel A. Melendez, Staff Writer
SOUTH PASADENA – Some will point to a five-run explosion in the seventh inning as the key to the Temple City High School baseball team’s 11-4 Rio Hondo League win over South Pasadena on Tuesday afternoon.
The reality is, the visiting Rams (13-6, 7-1) let their defense do the talking, getting out of pressure-moment innings, particularly in the sixth, when a potential momentum swing for the Tigers (9-11, 4-3) never came to fruition.
“They had runners in scoring position in many of the innings,” said Temple City coach Barry Bacon, whose Rams sit atop the league standings with a two-game lead. “We just pitched out of it and played good defense today.”
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South Pasadena headed into the sixth trailing 6-2, having already stranded five runners by then. Anthony D’Oro took a first-pitch strike from Temple City pitcher Calvin Copping, who struck out five and gave up only two earned runs on four hits. Copping’s next pitch, though, hit D’Oro, sending him to first.
Joey Harmon came to the plate next, but before he saw his first pitch, Copping threw a laser to first baseman Kyle Starling to pick off D’Oro. Harmon connected on the first pitch for a base hit to left field, a groan from the home crowd lamenting what could have been.
Conor Bednarski, facing a 3-1 count, was then hit by a pitch to put runners on first and second, giving South Pasadena fans hope. Derek Eisen connected on a 1-1 pitch for a hard line drive, but Starling robbed him of a sure RBI single, extending his glove high in the air to make the catch and preserve the lead.
South Pasadena’s Zane MacPhee, the next batter, wouldn’t go down easy. He battled Copping for eight gritty pitches before Copping caught him looking for a strikeout to end the threat.
“I think the key to that whole inning is the guy we picked off first base,” Bacon said, “because the next guy has a base hit.
“Calvin didn’t get rattled. He got better as he went along the game.”
South Pasadena was stymied by six errors, including one in the first inning that allowed Starling to reach first. One batter later, Corey Copping connected on an 0-1 pitch for a two-run home run to center field.
“I thought D’Oro pitched well,” Bacon said. “A couple miscues in the infield gave us some unearned runs, and then there was the dropped ball in left field. He got some runs that shouldn’t have been counted against him, but we fed off that.”
Corey Copping went 3 for 4 with three RBIs to lead Temple City, which pounded South Pasadena for 17 hits and sent 11 batters to the plate in the seventh for five runs on six hits.
South Pasadena coach Anthony Chevrier said the fourth inning proved crucial.
“It was a 3-2 ballgame at that point and we had a double play that went underneath our legs,” Chevrier said.
“We bounced back, got the next batter to fly out, but then we dropped a ball in left field.
“You give good teams five or six outs an inning and they’re going to put four or five runs across the board.”
Next is the battle for second place when South Pasadena visits Monrovia (8-10-1, 4-2) at 3:30 p.m. today.
Not all ended well for Temple City, which visits La Canada at 3:30 p.m. Friday – junior catcher Jonah Jarrard took a bounced pitch to the groin in the fourth inning; he left the game and was replaced by freshman Cameron LeGrand.