Katella pitcher Jaret Wright wasn’t about to stress Friday. Some things just aren’t worth the worry, even Southern Section playoff games.
“Anyone who feels pressure doesn’t believe in their abilities,” Wright said.
And Wright, whose abilities border on the unbelievable, had plenty of faith.
Wright’s wares were on display Friday. He pitched a two-hitter, beating host Servite, 2-0, in the first round of the Division I playoffs.
The Knights (18-8-1) will play host to Lakewood on Tuesday.
Wright’s performance was impressive; the only people stressing were Friar batters.
Wright, whose fastball has been clocked in the mid-90 m.p.h. range, struck out 12, seven looking.
Wright (7-2) has struck out 25 batters in his last two games and has 112 this season. The Friars (15-10) were overmatched.
“When Jaret’s pitching, I feel a whole lot better,” Katella Coach Tim McMenamin said.
The only time Wright--or McMenamin--really sweated was in the fifth inning. Wright got into trouble, mostly of his doing.
After giving up a double to Kirk Rossi, Wright hit two batters, loading the bases. He then went 1-0 to Jon Goldsmith.
“I just lost my focus,” Wright said.
He zeroed in again. The next six pitches were strikes, as Goldsmith and Kevin Krotz went down looking.
“Yeah, the bases-loaded thing kind of woke me up,” Wright said.
The rest was cake. The only other hit he allowed was a third-inning single by Greg Shaia. That inning ended when Wright turned a weak line drive into a double play.
“He’s a great pitcher,” Servite Coach Tom Tereschuk said. “We just tried to battle him.”
It was a losing battle much of the day.
Wright struck out every Friar starter except Shaia. Krotz, the Friars’ No. 2 hitter, and Brian Greene, the cleanup hitter, both struck out twice looking.
“Close games don’t make me as nervous when Jaret’s pitching,” McMenamin said. “But I wish we had pulled away.”
Katella had its chances. The Knights loaded the bases with no outs in the second, but scored only once. Base running gaffes took them out of scoring chances in the third and sixth.
In fact, the only runs they scored were on outs. Mike Villegas grounded out to drive in one run and Sal Viramontes’ sacrifice fly scored the other.
It wasn’t much, but it was enough.
“I felt good out there,” Wright said.
When he feels good, other teams generally feel bad.
In other Division I games:
El Dorado 4, El Toro 2--El Dorado’s Benito Flores pitched a complete game, giving up six hits, and Jeff Moore had three hits and one RBI.
The Golden Hawks (20-7) scored their four runs in the second inning. El Dorado plays Fontana on Tuesday.
Esperanza 3, Redlands 1--Greg Smith was two for three and drove in two runs in the first inning for Esperanza (14-12).
Teammate Jeff Roth went two for two.
Redlands finishes at 15-15. Esperanza will play Fountain Valley on Tuesday.
Fountain Valley 14, Montebello Schurr 1--Geoff Wilson hit a grand slam in fifth inning and Deric Yanagisawa followed with a home run to lead Fountain Valley (23-3-1).
Wilson finished with seven RBIs. Chris Ponchak hit a home run in fourth inning for Fountain Valley.
Mater Dei 3, Victor Valley 1--Adam Harris pitched a complete game for the Monarchs (17-8-1), striking out eight and allowing five hits and two walks.
Collin Burke and Mike Waugh each had two hits, including a double for each player.
Mater Dei will play Palos Verdes Peninsula on Tuesday at a site to be determined.
Palos Verdes Peninsula 8, Huntington Beach 4--With the bases loaded and the score tied, 3-3, in the sixth inning, Tony Persichina singled to drive in two runs for Peninsula.
Luke Woodfin’s double in second inning drove in two runs for Huntington Beach (16-8).