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Rio Mesa Pitchers Divide Load and Conquer San Marcos, 15-0 : Prep baseball: Five Spartans combine to throw one-hitter and Dmitri Young belts long two-run homer in Channel League opener.

TIMES STAFF WRITER

The most difficult task for Rio Mesa High on Friday was determining which of the five Spartan pitchers would earn the victory in a 15-0 decision over San Marcos.

It was that kind of day at Rio Mesa, where the Spartans used all 18 of their players and amassed 12 hits in a Channel League opener.

The pitching quintet combined to limit San Marcos to one hit, but none of the five pitched more than two innings.

Frank Tinoco started and struck out three and walked three in two innings. Luis Holguin, all 5-feet-4 of him, relieved for two innings, then gave way, literally, to 6-6 Jeff Howatt. Howatt, Jon Mitchell and Mike Mitchell each contributed an inning of relief.

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As the starter, Tinoco did not stay in the game long enough to qualify for the win. By his teammate’s standards, Howatt was shelled--giving up San Marcos’ only hit. And was Holguin tall enough?

Rio Mesa Coach Rich Duran went searching for a winner in the rule book.

“I don’t have any idea,” he said. “They all did such a fine job, but I’m pretty sure there’s a rule about who gets the decision.”

Eventually, he came up with Holguin. Apparently size is no prerequisite for a victory, and Holguin improved to 2-0.

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“He probably pitched as well as anybody,” Duran said. “You can’t give it to Tinoco, because he only worked two innings, and the other guys only threw one inning. Besides, Holguin had a little pain (in his arm) and pitched through it.”

The Spartans began the week ranked No. 1 in the Times regional poll and improved to 4-1 overall. Rio Mesa scored four runs in the first inning and led, 11-0, after two.

In the first, Rio Mesa took advantage of four errors to score three unearned runs. Twice, outfielders allowed routine singles to roll past their gloves for extra bases. Sam Garcia contributed a run-scoring grounder and Jon McMullen singled home a run.

“With it being our league opener, we wanted to get out to a quick start,” Duran said.

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That was not a problem for Rio Mesa, which had a more difficult time slowing down.

The Spartans added seven runs in the second, including three before San Marcos (2-4) could record an out. The big blow was a three-run double by McMullen, who finished with two hits and four runs batted in.

In the fifth, Rio Mesa added four runs on four hits. Hernan Martinez had an RBI single, Angel Lopez hit a sacrifice fly, and Dmitri Young added a two-run home run. Young, a senior shortstop who is considered the nation’s top high school prospect by Baseball America, deposited a pitch nearly 400 feet away for his fourth homer.

San Marcos won only three league games last year and finished 4-17-1. Three sophomores started for the Royals, and only three starters were seniors.

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“They’re a young club and they came out and did the best they could,” Duran said.


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