By John Honell, Correspondent
A year ago the San Dimas High School baseball team finished second to Northview in Valle Vista League play before making a run to a CIF-SS Division IV championship. The more experienced Saints now have sole possession of second place after an 11-1 win over Covina on Wednesday.
The win broke a tie for second with the Colts, who had seven sophomores in the starting lineup. The teams meet again on Friday.
“We played well today,” Saints coach Mike Regan said. “We’ve been struggling a little bit but with Derek (Penilla) on the hill and we catch the ball and don’t make a ton of mistakes and play well in all aspects of the game, we can compete.”
Matt Lee tripled home Brandon Yepez in the bottom of the fifth to give the Saints a 10-run lead and end the game on a league mercy rule.
Lee was 3 for 4 and drove in three runs to lead the Saints.
“Our guys played aggressive today,” Regan said. “Matt really stepped up and hit really well today.”
Penilla gave up four hits and struck out seven in picking up his sixth win of the season.
“I got my confidence up and started throwing strikes,” Penilla said. “I wanted early swings and early contact and that’s what I got. When you get in the rhythm it feels good and you start throwing strikes.”
The Colts scored first. Ceasar Murillo led off the second inning with a single. A sacrifice moved him to second and he stole third. Jason Martinez walked and stole second. Nick Simons singled to drive in Murillo but was thrown out trying to go to second on the throw home. Penilla got a popup to get out of the inning.
“His record doesn’t indicate how good he’s pitched,” Regan said. “When they were hopping around (on the base paths), it was something he hadn’t seen. He kept trying to pick them off but when he got calmed down he really stepped up for us.”
The Saints broke the game open in the bottom of the second by sending 10 batters to the plate. They scored five runs on three hits, four walks and a wild pitch.
“Unfortunately, we didn’t pitch very well today,” Colts coach Pete Loaiza said. “Pitching has been our strong point but the ball got away from us a little bit. We started getting guys on base and gave them opportunities to score runs without working for them.”
The Saints scored four more runs in the fourth on four hits, including a triple by Bobby Fraijo, and two walks.
“Our guys responded today,” Regan said. “Everyone I put out there competed. I’m pleased with the effort. Hopefully we can repeat the effort on Friday.”