Playing solely for pride, Servite High School probably cost Mater Dei its third-place seeding in the Southern Section 5-A division playoffs and its top ranking in Orange County with a stunning 8-1 victory Wednesday in Santa Ana.
Servite (11-11-1 overall, 4-7 in Angelus League play) entered the game knowing it had no chance of earning a berth in the playoffs that begin next week.
But the Friars chased Mater Dei pitcher Scott Corliss, one of the county's best pitchers, with a seven-run outburst in the sixth inning.
First baseman Tom Jacobs hit a two-run homer over the left-field fence to trigger the big inning, and then pitcher Cliff Mierendorf belted a grand slam off reliever Brian Frankel to finish off Mater Dei.
Mierendorf (3-2) struck out seven and had Mater Dei shut out until the seventh, when the Monarchs scored an unearned run to avoid their first shutout in two years.
"We've either looked real good or real bad this year," said Mike McNary, Servite's coach. "I'd like to think that was our real team that you saw today. This week against Mater Dei is our CIF playoffs.
"We didn't want to end the year on a losing note. The players thought they had a lot to prove. Hopefully, this game was a sign of things to come."
McNary starts six underclassmen, including Mierendorf. The sophomore right-hander continually kept Mater Dei's hitters off stride by hitting the corners and allowed only four hits. Mater Dei failed to advance a runner to third base until the seventh.
Afterward, Mater Dei Coach Bob Ickes said he saw the loss coming on Monday, when he felt his team had one of its poorest practices of the season. Mater Dei (19-5, 10-2) had been the top-ranked team in the Orange County Sportswriters Assn. poll for five consecutive weeks.
"We had a terrible practice and then went through the motions in pregame today," Ickes said. "We've been living off our pitching for too long. We haven't hit the ball the past couple of games."
Corliss (7-2) struck out 13 batters the last time he faced Servite, but it was clear in the first inning that the senior right-hander wasn't sharp when he walked Servite's Rob Walker to load the bases and then gave up his first run by walking the next batter.