PASADENA — Having loaded the bases twice with no outs, it appeared one or two hits from the Flintridge Prep baseball team would move it a step closer in its quest to share the Prep League championship for the second season in a row.
Entering Tuesday’s league road game against Pasadena Poly, the Rebels trailed the Panthers by two games with two league games remaining. With the golden scoring opportunities at hand, Flintridge Prep couldn’t convert either time and saw its bid for a piece of the league title thwarted.
“We just left a lot of guys on at the big times,” Flintridge Prep Coach Guillermo Gonzalez said after Flintridge Prep suffered an 8-6 defeat. “You load the bases twice with no outs and you think you can have a big inning, but sometimes things just don’t go your way.”
Pasadena Poly, ranked No. 2 in the latest CIF Southern Section Division VI poll, improved to 15-5, 11-0 in league and has won or shared 19 consecutive league crowns. Flintridge Prep, ranked No. 6 in the division, dropped to 13-7-1, 8-3 and will finish in second place.
Pasadena Poly got a huge effort at the plate and on the mound from Zack Bern, who hit a pair of home run and drove in five runs. Perhaps Bern’s biggest contribution came in the sixth inning. Flintridge Prep loaded the bases in the sixth against starting pitcher David Orndorff. Pasadena Poly Coach Wayne Ellis brought in Bern, who struck out the next two batters and got a fly ball to left to escape the threat.
“Zack hit and pitched great for us,” said Ellis, whose team swept the three-game season series against Flintridge Prep. “Flintridge Prep has a good team and they kept coming back on us.
“It feels good to be able to win the league again.”
Flintridge Prep scored twice in the first. Cole Rademacher scored after he stole second and advanced home on a throwing error by the catcher to make it 1-0. A run-scoring double by Cole Pilar made it 2-0.
Pasadena Poly responded in its half of the inning with a big rally, registering five runs on seven hits to grab a 5-2 lead. Bern homered over the left-field fence to make it 4-2.
Bern then hit a three-run home run to right field to pad the Panthers’ lead to 8-2 in the second.
Flintridge Prep loaded the bases in the third, but Orndorff got a 1-2-3 double play and a ground out to second to hold the Rebels at bay.
“It’s frustrating because we had some really good chances,” said Pilar, who finished with three hits. “We need to work on some things heading into the playoffs.
“We did have some positives, like coming back and hanging in there late in the game. Daniel Enzminger came in and did a great job in relief and didn’t give up any runs.”
Flintridge Prep, which will close out the regular season with a league contest against host Rio Hondo Prep on Thursday, scored four runs in the fifth to climb to within 8-6. A two-run double by Michael Weinstein made it 8-4 before a two-run double by Enzminger wrapped up the scoring.
Gonzalez, the reigning All-Area Baseball Coach of the Year after leading the Rebels to an appearance in the semifinals for the first time since 1960, said his team will look to bounce back.
“There’s a lot we can get out of this game,” Gonzalez said. “It’s a good lesson that we can learn from this.
“I liked the way we battled back and we know we still have a good team and record.”
Follow Charles Rich on Twitter: @TCNCharlesRich .