BURBANK — Similar to the area weather forecast, the Providence High baseball team looked to cool off a Pasadena Poly squad that had won its last four games.
The Pioneers shut out the Panthers through the first two innings of a Prep League contest, but Pasadena Poly struck in the third and fourth innings to take a three-run lead.
Pasadena Poly then provided the dagger in the fifth inning, scoring seven runs to defeat Providence, 10-0, in five innings at Foy Park on Tuesday.
“You try to minimize errors and you try to get guys in the best position as possible, but [starting pitcher Gunner Pratt] kind of ran out of gas there,” Providence first-year coach Mando Contreras said. “We did have another guy ready to go, but they made good adjustments.
“Hats off to their offense, too. They came in and had a pretty good game plan, but our guy got a little tired.”
Pratt, a sophomore, started on the mound for the Pioneers and shut out the Panthers in the first two innings, but a few miscues in the third gave the visitors a two-run lead.
“I think my curves were working the best for me and they just couldn’t hit any of those,” Pratt said. “That’s what was working. It was hard to see [my catcher’s] signs in this lighting. But I just tried to talk to him to get us back on track.”
Pratt threw 4 1/3 innings and gave up seven runs on eight hits with one strikeout and three walks.
His Pasadena Poly senior counterpart, Sean McTigue, pitched a one-hitter in five innings, striking out six and walking two.
“I just attacked the fast balls and adjusted,” McTigue said. “That seemed to work for me. Eventually, they kind of caught up to my fastballs and I had to mix in some breaking balls and change-ups. But for the most part, my mentality was to attack the fastballs and go from there.”
Pratt faced four batters in the first inning and allowed no hits, but gave up three straight with one out in the second before inducing a pair of pop-outs to keep the game scoreless.
Meanwhile, McTigue registered a pair of 1-2-3 innings with four strikeouts to keep the Pioneers (1-8, 0-5 in league) at bay.
The Panthers (6-2, 3-0) struck first when a runner scored from third on a wild pitch. Then a sacrifice fly scored another run later in the inning to give Pasadena Poly a 2-0 lead in the third.
“I think it was staying with a better approach at the plate,” Pasadena Poly coach Nick Wagner said. “It was playing smarter baseball, also. A few moments early in the game, we made some mental mistakes that we adjusted upon as we went later on into the game, especially with our base-running.
“It’s important to understand where we have advantages to take advantage of and then when we should just shut it down and let the hitter do their job.”
Though the Panthers added another run in the fourth to lead, 3-0, the Pioneers were the recipients of two errors on the Poly second baseman to get runners on base. After Providence senior Checker Max drew a walk, McTigue struck out Enrique Nazario to quell any threat the Pioneers had in the fourth inning.
“We had five strikeouts in three innings and we finally started making adjustments to put the ball in play,” Contreras said. “When we put it in play, you saw a couple of errors out there, so we made the game plan to being a tough out. It worked a little bit, but still not good enough to put a run up there.”
With a runner on first n the fifth, Pratt induced a ground-out at first to get the first out of the inning, but a walk and hit batter followed that allowed the Panthers to load up the bases. A one-out double that scored two runs made it 6-0 before a flurry of errors further extended the inning for the Panthers.
Providence sophomore Connor McCarthy broke up McTigue’s no-hitter with two outs in the fifth inning, delivering a single to right field.