Sims’ Home Run Caps Alemany Comeback

<i> Times Staff Writer </i>

Seven score plate appearances and 45 hits ago, Mike Sims set forth a new baseball career as catcher at Alemany High.

And since that time, Sims has earned a reputation as a gritty defensive backstop with a smooth singles stroke and a lifetime .321 batting average. His hard work paid off in this, his senior season, when he signed a national letter of intent recently to play baseball at Cal State Northridge.

Sims, however, never caught anyone’s attention with his power. Through 140 at-bats, he had no home runs. Not one.


But, Tuesday at Alemany, Sims emancipated himself from his no-pop tag. He hit his first career homer, a blast deep over the left-field fence that beat Del Rey League rival St. Francis, 5-4.

The blow came with one out in the seventh inning and put the finishing touch on an Alemany comeback that began with the Indians trailing, 4-0, entering the bottom of the fifth.

“I was sitting back waiting for a fastball, but he threw me a curveball and it hung,” Sims said of the pitch from St. Francis’ Mitch Bowen. “I got all of that one.

“It was great timing. We needed this game really bad.”

Perhaps not as badly as St. Francis.

The loss broke the Golden Knights’ five-game winning streak and dropped them to 7-5-1, 3-3 in league play and 2 1/2 games behind league leader Alemany (12-9, 6-1).

St. Francis built its four-run lead on the strength of Greg Zaun’s solo home run in the first, Derek Bedell’s run-scoring ground out in the fourth and J. P. Roberge’s two-run homer in the fifth.

Alemany starter Joey Rosselli (3-0) settled into a rhythm, however, and Bowen, who did not give up a hit in the first four innings, suddenly lost his control in the fifth.

Bowen (2-1) walked the first three batters of the inning, then pinch-hitter Brian Swanson lined the first pitch he saw into left field for the Indians’ first hit.

Alemany, without the benefit of another hit, scored twice more in the inning when Bowen and relievers Eric Hagge and Mike Weisenberg walked five and hit a batter.