“Anybody following our program the last five years knows our body of work has been pretty special. We’ve set the bar high for our program and what we feel we want to become is a program to be reckoned with. But for us, with three or four sophomores, three or four juniors, we’ve been slapped with a learning curve and forced to grow up fast. The learning curve has hit us.” –– Bishop Amat coach Andy Nieto on his 3-5 start.
Hey Amat, where’s your stats and roster? Since I’ve been here Amat has always posted its roster and updated its stats on a game-by-game basis on Maxpreps. I know they’re not off to a good start, but if you’re going to post when the going’s good, you should post during the tough times too.
By Keith Lair SGVN twitter.com/KeithLLair
It has been an unconventional season for the Bishop Amat High School baseball team. So it only makes sense the Lancers used unconventional strategies Tuesday.
Catcher Bryan Menendez broke a 2-2 tie in the sixth inning with a two-out drag bunt that scored Scott Hurst from third base to carry visiting Bishop Amat to a 4-2 victory over
St. Paul in a Del Rey League game.
“Anybody following our program the last five years knows our body of work has been pretty special,” Bishop Amat coach Andy Nieto said. “We’ve set the bar high for our program and what we feel we want to become is a program to be reckoned with.
“But for us, with three or four sophomores, three or four juniors, we’ve been slapped with a learning curve and forced to grow up fast. The learning curve has hit us.”
How unconventional has the Lancers’ season been? The reigning CIF-Southern Section Division 4 champions started only one senior with varsity experience, designated hitter Rio Ruiz. They are 3-5 on the season, already with more losses than last season.
Unconventional? The Lancers’ first five hitters had only one of Bishop Amat’s six hits Tuesday.
“It’s very important,” Menendez said of the bottom of the order getting hits. “If nobody gets hits, the game ain’t going to go our way.”
But it was the drag bunt, which was more like a squeeze play, that seemed the most unconventional.
“That turned out to be huge,” Nieto said. “We happened to be fortunate enough that for that particular hitter they were not playing up. It’s kind of a cat and mouse game and fortunately it played out in our favor.”
The Lancers were trailing, 2-1, in the sixth when Andrew De La Cruz had the top of the lineup’s lone hit, an infield single. Clean-up hitter Adam Alcantara drew a walk and St. Paul anticipated Hurst’s sacrifice bunt and caught De La Cruz at third base.
Pitcher Jonah Jimenez got a strikeout and Moya singled through the first-second base gap to tie the game at 2-2. Menendez got a 2-0 count and St. Paul coach Casey Morales decided to send Aaron Pinto to the mound.
Menendez bunted the next pitch down the third-base line for his second bunt single of the game.
“How often does that work?” Morales said. “Not very often. We had positioned ourselves for it, but we didn’t make the play.”
Third baseman Jordan Valdez threw wide to first base, although Menendez already had the throw beaten. The ball sailed past first baseman and Luis Moya also scored to make it 4-2.
“I was thinking to just get the bunt down,” Menendez said. “That is what (coach) wants us to work on a lot. I have been bunting a lot, even with two strikes.”
The Swordsmen (4-7) took a 2-1 lead in the fifth inning when leadoff hitter Kevin Romo sent a 2-1 Eric Vega fastball over the left-field fence.
All the Swordsmen had to do was to keep the Lancers off the bases in the last two innings.
“The pressure got to us,” Romo said. “We felt we were going good in the last two innings. It just unfolded there and we didn’t make the plays we should have.”
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