As San Fernando High opened the baseball season seeking its second consecutive berth in the City Section 4-A Division final, most reasoned that if the Tigers get there it will be largely because of superior pitching.
But San Fernando has surrendered 25 runs in its past two North Valley League games, and pitching--at least temporarily--has become less reliable than expected.
“I don’t remember us giving up runs in double figures any time over the last five or six years,” Coach Steve Marden said.
San Fernando scored eight runs in the first inning, but former All-City pitcher Frank Serna was unable to hold the lead and Cleveland eventually scored three runs in the bottom of the seventh to forge a 12-12 tie Wednesday in a North Valley game at Cleveland that was halted after seven innings because of darkness.
San Fernando (4-1-1, 1-1-1 in league play) knocked Cleveland starter Tony Holiday out with eight runs in the first inning, all earned. Right-handed reliever Bobby McRae, however, kept the Cavaliers in striking range by allowing four runs over the final 7 2/3 innings.
Cleveland (2-0-1, 2-0-1) trailed, 12-9, in the seventh when junior center fielder Pat Bryant led off with a triple to start the game-tying rally.
Holiday walked and James Molinelli reached base when Holiday beat a force play at second, with Bryant scoring.
Designated-hitter Herman Rodriguez--who was two for four with four runs batted in--followed with a two-run double to right-center to tie the score. Reliever John Najar walked one batter and hit another to load the bases but struck out pinch-hitter Mike Morley with a called third strike on a three-and-two pitch to end the game.
Serna--a senior right-hander who entered the game with a record of 3-0--allowed 12 hits, walked 11, and threw 140 pitches.
The game, which will be replayed only if it has a bearing on the final league standings, was called immediately after Morley’s strikeout.