By Nathan Cambridge, Correspondent
MONROVIA – Joe Mata pitched a complete game, giving up four hits, in Monrovia High School’s 2-1 victory over visiting San Marino in Rio Hondo League baseball action Thursday afternoon.
“We’re hungry. We’re out here trying to get this league title,” Mata said.
The victory keeps Monrovia (11-3, 4-1) atop the league standings and evens the season series at one game apiece with one more to go. San Marino (10-4, 3-2) had entered Thursday’s game, which was rescheduled from Wednesday due to rain, with a share of the lead in the Rio Hondo, but the loss slips the Titans back behind co-leaders Monrovia and Temple City.
Mata threw early strikes and stayed ahead of batters to earn his fourth victory of the season. The junior left-hander struck out eight while recording first-pitch strikes on 16 of the 27 batters he faced. Of Mata’s 93 pitches, only 19 were balls and only two Titans batters reached a three-ball count – with neither reaching base.
“(Mata) was able to throw three pitches for strikes in early counts. You know, its a lot tougher for a high school kid to hit a ball 0-1 than it is 1-0,” Monrovia co-coach Brad Blackmore said.
San Marino starting pitcher Garret Glazier went five innings, allowing all six of the Monrovia hits and both runs. The senior was also the starter earlier this season for the Titans in their 2-1 over Monrovia at San Marino on March 16.
Monrovia took the lead on Glazier in the fifth inning, breaking a 1-1tie with the help of some defensive miscues by the Titans infield. David Perez led off with a single that dropped into shallow right field. Justin Jones then grounded into a fielder’s choice, with Perez out at second. Reed Miller then reached on a throwing error.
Nick Carino then hit a ground ball to second baseman Keiran Ryan who threw to Hill covering second, but the senior shortstop was slow in turning the double play, allowing Carino to reach first safely and Jones to score from second on the fielder’s choice.
“We just couldn’t come up with the ball in a couple scenarios and just couldn’t get the handle on the ball,” San Marino coach Mack Paciorek said of the Titans’ fifth inning. “Little things like that come back to cost you.”