It was only a nonleague game, but Friday’s matchup between defending Avocado League champion San Pasqual High School and Palomar League champ Mt. Carmel promised to decide which team would have bragging rights to North County.
However, after Mt. Carmel’s 4-2 victory, nobody was bragging.
Mt. Carmel Coach Sam Blalock was hardly boisterous after the victory.
“I see it as just another preseason game,” said Mt. Carmel Coach Sam Blalock, stressing his team’s failings on a day when the Sun Devils had only a few lapses. “We were hitting pretty well in the early part of the game, but we weren’t able to do much after that.”
Behind the five-hit performance of pitcher Tommy Cheek and the hitting of catcher Miah Bradbury, Mt. Carmel (9-4) took control of the game with a two-run first inning and kept San Pasqual (5-4-1) from mounting a serious threat.
While Blalock was decrying his team’s inability to hit consistently throughout the game, San Pasqual Coach Bill Green said he just wished his team would hit--period.
“We haven’t hit the ball all year long,” Green said. “A lot of times we’ll make a pitcher look better than he is. We’ve only got three players from last year’s team and they haven’t started hitting yet.”
Cheek retired 10 of the first 12 Golden Eagles batters, yielding only a walk and a slow-rolling single up the middle before he was tagged for a solo home run by Chris Portis. San Pasqual was then held to three singles, scoring their second run on an error.
If the Eagles haven’t started hitting yet, Mt. Carmel’s Bradbury hasn’t stopped. In his first at-bat, the Sun Devils’ 6-foot 4-inch catcher missed a home run by inches as his drive hit the fence in right-center, the ballpark’s deepest alley. Bradbury finished 2 for 2 with two runs scored and an RBI.
However, it was after his final plate appearance that Bradbury sealed the victory for Mt. Carmel. After Cheek gave up a single to pinch-hitter Mike Maw to begin the seventh inning, Bradbury took off his catching gear and assumed the mound. In striking contrast to the 5-7 starter who had kept the Eagles guessing on off-speed and breaking pitches, Bradbury put all his size and power into every pitch, striking out the next two hitters and getting the third to end the game on a fly ball to center.