UPPER DECK TOURNAMENT : Mater Dei Bobbles a Chance to Advance
Playing shoddy defense while facing quality pitching is one proven way to lose baseball games.
And unfortunately for Mater Dei High Coach Bob Ickes, the Monarchs illustrated this fact extremely well, or poorly, depending on your perspective, in the Upper Deck Classic.
Mistake-prone Mater Dei lost to San Diego Mission Bay, 5-3, Tuesday in the championship quarterfinals at Amerige Park in Fullerton.
The Monarchs (8-3-1) had more errors (three) than hits (two) against the Bucs (9-0), who are ranked fourth in the nation by USA Today. Toss in a passed ball and a wild pitch, and Ickes’ unpleasant disposition was understandable.
“The defense let us down,” Ickes said. “Without a doubt, this was one of our worst games defensively.”
It was a particularly bad time for a letdown because Mission Bay standout Chris Juarez (4-0) was on the mound.
The junior left-hander dominated the Monarchs, pitching a complete game with 12 strikeouts. Juarez, mixing a sharp breaking ball and crackling fastball, retired 12 in a row at one point and struck out the side in the fourth and seventh innings.
Said Ickes: “We’re an offensive club, but you’re not going to score many runs on a kid like that.”
Juarez usually doesn’t require much help, but he received support from both teams.
The Monarchs’ problems began in the bottom of the second, which, ironically, was the only inning things went right.
Mater Dei led, 3-0, following senior Adam Harris’ first home run of the season, a 300-foot line drive down the left-field line with runners on first and second.
The Monarchs, however, suffered an emotional blow a few pitches before the home run. Junior right fielder Dave Sanchez was forced to leave the game after suffering a separated right shoulder while avoiding a pickoff attempt at first.
Senior outfielder Louis Lopez took Sanchez’s place in the lineup and committed two errors, the first of which helped the Bucs score their first of two runs in the third inning.
The Bucs scored the tying run in the fourth on Lopez’s second error. Mission Bay scored the go-ahead run in the fifth on a wild pitch by sophomore Kevin Bice (0-1), who was making his first start. Mission Bay’s final run in the seventh was set up by a pitch that eluded catcher Gary Brown.
In other tournament games:
El Dorado 4, Alabama Hartselle 3--El Dorado (9-3) scored the winning run on a two-out error at Cal State Fullerton. Hartselle scored once in the eighth to take a 3-2 lead but El Dorado’s Chris Beck singled home Jeff Moore with the tying run with two outs in the bottom of the inning. Beck scored the winning run from second on a throwing error by Hartselle third baseman David Lewis. El Dorado advances to play San Diego Rancho Bernardo in a semifinal at 7 tonight at Cal State Fullerton.
Esperanza 6, New Mexico Artesia 5--Damien Feuerborn had an RBI single to break a 1-1 tie in the second for Esperanza (5-6). Greg Fujoika added a two-run single later in the inning to give the Aztecs a 6-1 lead.
Troy 15, Las Vegas Chaparral 5--Brad Downing hit a three-run homer, Rick Parmenter a two-run homer, and Trevor Brown and Rich Richey each hit three-run doubles as Troy (8-1) scored 11 runs in the sixth to break a 4-4 tie.