Los Osos’ Chris Kohler throws no hitter and clinches Baseline League title 9-0 over Glendora
— Fred J. Robledo (@SGVNSports) May 9, 2013
By Brian Reed-Baiotto
BONITA WINS — Parker Merritt might not be a vocal guy, but the Bonita High senior’s play does plenty of talking.
Merritt threw his sixth complete game of the year to not only lead Bonita to a 4-1 victory Wednesday at Diamond Bar, the Bearcats claimed their fifth straight Hacienda League title and have won 27 consecutive league games.
Merritt (8-0) continued his mastery of the strike zone, as the Bearcats ace had just one three-ball count and has just one walk on the season in 64 innings pitched.
He surrendered six hits and struck out five to improve to 16-1 over the past two seasons and took advantage of a four-run third inning to beat Diamond Bar’s Zeph Walters.
“Parker has come in and replaced a guy (Justin Garza) who is one of the best players in San Gabriel Valley baseball history as our ace and as good as he’s been, you won’t hear him say a word about it,” Bonita coach John Knott said. “He’s a quiet, hard-working and humble kid who just goes out there and gets the job done each time he takes the mound.”
Bonita (24-3-1, 11-0) got four off Walters with two out in the top of the third when Justin Row singled, Joe Quire walked and both moved up a base on a wild pitch.
Jacob Blunt, the Bearcats most clutch hitter all year, came through again with a two-run single to give Bonita a 2-0 lead.
Justin Gomez doubled the advantage one batter later with a two-run home run over the right-field wall, and Merritt made that stand up.
“I take a lot of pride in not walking batters,” Merritt said. “The key to my success has been keeping the ball down and my tempo. It feels great to be part of another league championship, because we’ve had to rely on a lot of guys to get the job done.”
Diamond Bar (19-5, 8-3) looked to get on the board in the fifth when Casey Kernohan doubled with two out and Austin Szulczewski singled, but Bonita center fielder Danny Gelalich threw a strike to Blunt who tagged Kernohan at the plate.
The Brahmas scratched one run across in the sixth when Jacob Cooke led off the inning with a triple and scored on Nolan Luzzi’s sacrifice fly. Walters (9-2, 0.88 ERA) went five innings and allowed four runs on five hits while striking out five Bonita batters.
Diamond Bar could have earned a share of the title with a sweep of the Bearcats Wednesday and Friday, but Merritt and his teammates continued their utter dominance in league play.
“It is special to win another league championship, because we lost some great talent from last year’s team,” Knott said. “It’s a tribute to our kids, because they’ve earned this success with hard work.”
Bonita looks primed to defend its CIF-SS Division 3 championship and are ranked No. 1 in the CIF-SS poll, but Merritt, who’s only walk of the season came on April 11 against Northview, still see’s room for improvement. “I think if we can pick it up offensively, we’re going to be pretty tough to beat,” Merritt said.
Bonita 0-0-4-0-0-0-0-(4 runs, 7 hits, 1 error)
Diamond Bar-0-0-0-0-0-1-0-(1 run, six hits 1 error)
Parker Merritt and Jacob Blunt; Zeph Walters, Tommy Delgadillo (6), Gerardo Ramirez (7) and Josh Sanchez.
HR: Justin Gomez (B); 3B: Jacob Cooke (DB); 2B: Casey Kernohan (DB), Chad Hockin (B)
W: Parker Merritt (8-0)
L: Zeph Walters (9-2)