It’s never perfect, but there’s no arguing with the results of the Damien High School baseball team.
The host Spartans just continue to win, and they added to their success, using a home run from first baseman Joe Larez and a solid effort from pitcher Nick Amrhein to rally for a 2-1 victory over rival Glendora in a key Sierra League game on Wednesday
Damien, also getting an RBI single from Jorge Ortega, improved to 13-4 overall and moved into a first-place tie with the Tartans at 6-2 in league play. Glendora, getting a solid effort on the mound from Jacob Cage, slipped to 15-2-1.
The two teams will play for the league lead at Glendora on Friday.
“We prepare our guys to play,” Damien coach Al Leyva said. “If they (win), great, if they don’t, they don’t.
“But our guys will always battle. We may not win every game, but we’ll always battle.”
The Spartans had to after Glendora took a 1-0 lead in the second on a lead-off double by John Alexander and back-to-back fly balls by Kyle Layton and Jacob Cage.
But Amrhein, who scattered six hits through five innings to improve to 6-0, kept the Tartans in check from there.
The Spartans then got back into it in the fourth, tying it at 1-1 following consecutive singles by Adam Young, Erik Lewis and Ortega.
Larez then gave Damien a 2-1 lead with one out in the fifth with a partially wind-aided home run to left.
“I saw the left fielder (Jacob Smigelski) take a couple steps in, so I thought he was going to catch it,” Larez said. “I just kept running, then I saw him put his arm over the fence, and I knew it was gone.”
The Tartans looked to get right back in it in the sixth after Clinton Harwick led off with a single and Smigelski followed with a double to left.
But relievers Jack Hedges and Antonio Gonzales put out the fire. Hedges got Joseph Winterburn to ground out to third before Gonzales got Alexander to pop out and Layton to ground out.
“That, obviously, was huge,” Glendora coach Dan Henley said. “We were in a great position, and it happened in a hurry. But hats off to them.”