Like any pitcher, Mission Bay right-hander Tony Lennan prefers to minimize his time on the mound by throwing as few pitches as possible.
But Wednesday against Clairemont, Lennan didn't mind spending a little extra time on the mound--it was all he could do to keep his blood flowing.
A game that began at 3 p.m. with the sun shining and the temperature quite pleasant ended with a biting wind whipping across the diamond, a slight drizzle and a temperature at least 10 degrees cooler.
Somehow, Lennan stayed focused and warm enough to win his 10th game against one loss, 7-2 over host Clairemont.
"The weather conditions were horrible," Lennan said. "I was just trying to keep warm between innings. It seemed like every time I went out to the mound, it took me forever to get loose again. I just wanted to get it over with."
Second-ranked Mission Bay (20-3) improved to 11-1 in the City Western League and kept its one game lead over USDHS, which beat University City, 2-1. Mission Bay meets USDHS next week in a game that will probably decide the league title.
Clairemont (11-12) fell to 7-6 in league play and remained third.
"This is the part of the season where it's a struggle," Mission Bay Coach Dennis Pugh said. "The kids are really looking toward the playoffs."
Lennan, who had never pitched a high school game until this season, allowed six hits and struck out five.
"It just shows you that you can take a great athlete and turn him into in a pitcher," Pugh said. Lennan, who pitched in Pony League, had played other positions in high school before this season.
Lennan surrendered his two runs in the second on two walks and a misplayed fly ball that the Mission Bay outfield turned into a triple. Clairemont had mild rallies in the third and sixth, advancing runners to second and third each time. In the third with two outs, a groundout to shortstop ended the threat, and in the sixth with no outs, Lennan struck out the side.
Mission Bay tied the game in the bottom of the third on three walks, a sacrifice fly by Tommy Lefevre and a single by Guillermo Aviles. It went ahead, 4-2, in the fourth on a walk, a hit batsman and three consecutive hits. Brandon Farley drove in the go-ahead run with a double down the left-field line, and Aviles knocked out Clairemont starter Brandon Garland and knocked in the other run with an opposite-field triple to the alley in right center.
Pat Betancourt and Brian Moranda broke open the game with home runs in the sixth and seventh innings, Moranda's for two runs.