Keeping scoreboard operators busy is as much a part of Brea-Olinda’s game as donning baseball caps and stirrups.
And while the Wildcats hope to continue their offensive production throughout the Southern Section Division II playoffs, they realize they must save some muscle for when they’re not at-bat.
Strong defense was the major reason Brea-Olinda defeated Sunny Hills, 6-2, Friday in the first round.
Brea-Olinda (22-4) did not commit an error and made several standout plays in the field, including a key double play in the sixth inning. The support enabled starter Steve Trombly (10-1) to toss a complete game with six strikeouts.
The Wildcats, Orange League co-champion, play Canyon on Tuesday in the second round. The Lancers (13-14-1) finished second in the Freeway League.
With the Wildcats holding a 2-1 lead in the fourth inningand a runner at third, third baseman John Theis made a diving catch to his left to end the inning.
“I thought that was one of the big plays in the game,” Coach Steve Hiskey said. “They had a guy at third and if they get that one in, who knows.”
Brea-Olinda led, 4-2, in the sixth when Theis completed the middle part of a difficult double play, stepping on third then throwing to first to end the inning and another threat by Sunny Hills.
“Actually, I was a little surprised (Trombly) threw it to me,” Theis said. “You don’t see that type of double play too often.”
For one of the few times this season, the Wildcats did not reach double figures in hits. They were outhit, 6-5, which happens about as often as someone lowers their cholesterol level eating theater popcorn.
On offense, Brea-Olinda was led by catcher Mike Brambilla and left fielder Matt Weyant. Each had a double and two runs batted in.
Thanks to the incredibly wild pitching of Lancer starter Thomas Lee, Brea-Olinda jumped to a 2-0, first-inning lead. Lee walked two batters and hit two in the inning.