BRACE CANYON PARK — The Bellarmine-Jefferson High baseball team faced a pitcher Friday that wasn’t particularly overpowering and didn’t throw with pinpoint accuracy. He did, however, have an unorthodox delivery.
Freshman Gonzalo Rios is a submarine pitcher. Along with sending the ball to the plate from an unusual angle, he also has a herky-jerky motion and slings the ball rather than throws it.
The right-hander’s style definitely made things tough on the Bell-Jeff, as the Guards struck out 12 times against Rios and could manage just one run in suffering a 7-1 Santa Fe League loss at Brace Canyon Park.
Rios broke his right collarbone two years ago and had had to adapt his throwing motion.
“After I broke it, that’s the way I learned how to throw,” said Rios, whose team is 3-4, 2-1 in league. “I think it kinda throws some batters off.”
First-year Bell-Jeff Coach Kiko Garcia said his team had problems figuring out the starter.
“I think it bothered us a little bit,” Garcia said. “Even myself when I played, I hated those side-slingers. But we needed to make the adjustments in the box against him and I don’t think we were able to do that.”
Rios ended up with a complete game five-hitter, yielding just one run in the first inning.
“For a freshman, he has a big heart and he wants to win,” St. Genevieve Coach Gabriel Reyes said of Rios. “He just goes out there and battles.”
Two-time all-league catcher Mitch Kellogg got the start on the hill for the Guards (1-4, 0-2). Although he got into some trouble in the first inning, the Bell-Jeff infield committed two errors that contributed to the Valiants scoring three in the opening frame.
The Guards came back, however, to notch a run of their own in the bottom of the first. Sam Kachikian singled to left field and scored on an infield error. Kachikian was two for four.
Another Bell-Jeff error in the second inning and one more in the third helped St. Genevieve push across two runs in each frame to take a 7-1 lead.
“When you give a team like [St. Genevieve], a decent baseball club, a lead like that it’s going to be tough to come back,” Garcia said. “But when you don’t swing the bat, nothing can happen. I don’t think that we hit the ball very well against them.”
Bell-Jeff also experienced some troubles on the base paths. Along with having a runner thrown out at home, the team also hit into a 7-4 double play and had another runner picked off after a rundown between first and second.
After a rocky first three innings, Kellogg did settle down, allowing no runs and no hits over the course of the final four innings, including retiring the side in the fourth and fifth.
Ryan Okiishi and Elijah Reed had singles and Matt Landini had a double for Bell-Jeff.