By Fred J. Robledo, Staff Writer
WEST COVINA — Claremont’s Josh Chua spoiled South Hills pitcher Adrian De Horta’s shutout attempt with a two-out double in the seventh inning that scored Matt Rhinehart, and the Wolpack scored again on Nick Costello’s RBI single.
But De Horta, obviously tiring down the stretch, finished the complete game to lead South Hills to a 6-2 victory in the Sierra League opener for both schools.
“What was that, a 10 or 12 pitch at-bat?” De Horta said of his battle with Chua. “But I tip my hat to him, he hit that change-up. You always want the shutout, but the win is what counts. I’m just glad I was able to finish.”
South Hills (6-1, 1-0), which split a pair of games this past week against Northview, including its only loss in the Dick’s Sporting Goods tournament final over the weekend, is in search of its 11th straight league title and third straight in the Sierra.
Claremont dropped to 3-3 and 0-1. In another Sierra League game, Ayala defeated Damien 7-3.
“I think he (De Horta) got a little tired, but I want to establish the attitude of you start something, then you try and finish it if you can,” South Hills coach Kevin Smith said. “It’s still early in the season, but I thought he battled like like a pitcher. He didn’t necessarily have his best stuff, but he got through it. That’s what good pitchers do.”
De Horta finished with 10 strikeouts and gave up nine hits.
“I’ve been here four years with coach Smith and he has faith in me and I have faith in him,” De Horta said. “You just have to trust the seven guys behind you and the one behind the plate.”
South Hills took advantage of its opportunities.
De Horta’s two-out single in the first inning scored Gabriel Chavez and Nico Contreras’ two-out double in the second drove in John Ayala and Steven Mendoza for a 3-0 lead.
Claremont’s two errors in the fourth inning led to two Huskies unearned runs and Contreras scored again in the sixth on Antonio Muniz’s sacrifice fly.
“We (capitalized), but I felt we had numerous other opportunities and didn’t get the hit when we needed it,” Smith said. “I felt we could have scored a few more times, but that’s baseball.”