For the first time in a few years, the Flintridge Prep baseball team will not be embarking on a sizeable postseason run.
The Rebels fell behind by five runs after half an inning and never closed the gap in a 10-5 defeat to visiting Arroyo Grande in the wild-card round of the CIF Southern Section Division IV playoffs at the Glendale Sports Complex on Wednesday afternoon.
With the defeat, Flintridge Prep ended its season with a 14-8-1 record after going 7-5 and taking third in the Prep League.
The loss marks the first time in the five-year tenure of Rebels Coach Guillermo Gonzalez that Flintridge Prep, which moved up two divisions to Division IV this postseason, didn’t at least win one playoff game.
“It’s been an up-and-down season for us and we lost two of our best guys to injury,” Gonzalez said. “When you don’t have your 1-2 and you lose your starting catcher, it’s tough.
“Today. Arroyo Grande just put the ball in play and the defense didn’t help and bad things happened. Our defense was shaky, but we had to settle down and play better.”
Despite committing three errors and falling behind early by five runs, the Rebels climbed to within 7-5 after five innings thanks to two runs in the bottom of the fifth.
Senior Jack Enzminger, who finished two for four with two doubles and three runs batted in, ripped a double off the glove of Arroyo Grande’s first baseman to drive home Kendall Kikkawa and bring the score within 7-4.
On the double, Arroyo Grande committed one of its six errors on an errant throw that allowed Brian Pipes to score and close the deficit to 7-5.
Unfortunately for Flintridge Prep, its rally dried up in part to a steady counter-punch from Pac-8 League fourth-place finisher Arroyo Grande (19-13), which answered with three runs in the sixth inning to go ahead, 10-5.
The big blow in the top of the sixth was a two-run single from Cameron Hirahara, who finished three for three with a double, three RBI and two runs scored.
“Even though we lost, it was a lot of fun this year,” Rebels senior Danny Chiarodit said. “These guys came out and played hard and had a lot of energy. We graduated seven seniors from last year and we all tried our best this year.”
Flintridge Prep dug itself a big hole early as Arroyo Grande sent 10 batters to the plate in the first inning and scored five runs on six hits with a walk and three wild pitches aiding the cause.
The high-scoring inning forced Gonzalez to make a pitching change in the first inning.
Flintridge Prep got itself back into the contest by scoring three runs in the bottom of the third, highlighted on a two-run double from Enzminger.
The Rebels, though, never closed the deficit to more than two runs as Arroyo Grande added a pair of runs in the top of the fifth on a pinch-hit, two-out double from Sam Soares to go up 7-3.
“We graduated seven seniors from last year’s squad and that five-run first inning really hurt our confidence,” said Pipes, who scored two runs. “If you look at the rest of the game, they scored five runs and we scored five. If you take away that first inning, it’s a different game.”