Sage Hill School’s Ashwin Chona beats St. Margaret’s Trey Pate to first base after an infield hit during a San Joaquin League baseball game at Sage Hill on Tuesday.(Don Leach / Staff Photographer)
Sage Hill’s Trevor Klein (44) scoops up a bunt in front of teammate William Ho and throws to first for the out in a San Joaquin League game against St. Margaret’s on Tuesday.(Don Leach / Staff Photographer)
Sage Hill’s Daniel Fishman (63) eyes the pick-off attempt at second base of St. Margaret’s Wes Kim during a San Joaquin League game on Tuesday.(Don Leach / Staff Photographer)
St. Margaret’s Will Riddle slides to beat the tag of Sage Hill catcher Conner Hatz at first after a throwing error during a San Joaquin League game on Tuesday.(Don Leach / Staff Photographer)
Sage Hill’s Ashwin Chona (34) is tagged out by St. Margaret’s Hunter Smith on a slide to second base in a San Joaquin League game on Tuesday.(Don Leach / Staff Photographer)
Sage Hill’s Trevor Klein almost tags out a diving St. Margaret’s Wes Kim at first base during a San Joaquin League game on Tuesday.(Don Leach / Staff Photographer)
Sage Hill’s Daniel Fishman (63) nearly tags out St. Margaret’s Alex Smith at second base in a San Joaquin League game on Tuesday.(Don Leach / Staff Photographer)
At one point during the onslaught, St. Margaret’s Episcopal School senior Alex Smith said he turned to teammate and fellow senior Solomon Banks.
Sean Olvera, Smith, Trey Pate, Colin Miehe and Will Riddle strung together five straight hits in the sixth inning of Tuesday’s San Joaquin League baseball game at rival Sage Hill.
Smith, Miehe and Riddle all had doubles. The Tartans ended up with four runs that inning.
“That was pretty awesome,” said Smith, a catcher who went four for four with two doubles, two runs scored and two driven in. “I said to Solomon, ‘I think this is the most fun I’ve ever [had playing] baseball.’ I felt the energy, I had goosebumps. It was awesome. In my four years I’ve never beat Sage Hill up until this year, so it feels really good.”
Red-hot St. Margaret’s has now beaten Sage Hill two times this season in league play.
The Tartans earned their eighth straight win overall with the 8-1 victory, and moved ahead of the Lightning in the league standings.
St. Margaret’s (8-5, 4-2 in league) stayed a game behind first-place Capistrano Valley Christian in the four-team league. Sage Hill (7-5, 3-3) drops two games back.
“We’ve found a way to win games,” third-year St. Margaret’s coach Scott Wallis said. “I think we have a mentality now that these guys come to the game expecting to win, and that’s really cool to be a part of as a coach. You always want to coach a team that has that personality. We’ve been trying to build that personality up for three years.
“They believe in themselves. They believe they can win, and that’s all I can ask for. We’re probably going to lose a game, but they’re probably going to do it the right way though.”
St. Margaret’s hasn’t lost lately, and never trailed on Tuesday. Smith led off the game with a double down the third-base line, and eventually would score on a wild pitch.
Sage Hill tied the score in the bottom of the second, as St. Margaret’s starting pitcher Colin Miehe battled his control with five walks in the inning. The Lightning’s Conner Hatz led off with a walk, and he would eventually score when Daniel Fishman drew a bases-loaded walk.
St. Margaret’s led 2-1 in the bottom of the fifth, when the Lightning again threatened by loading the bases with two outs. But St. Margaret’s relief pitcher Pate got out of the jam, as Dylan McCarthy grounded out to him on the first pitch.
St. Margaret’s then scored four runs in the sixth and two more in the seventh, putting the game out of reach.
“They just started hitting at the right time,” Sage Hill coach Dominic Campeau said. “They clutched in that inning and we couldn’t come back. It’s a tough one. We just couldn’t get anybody out. It seemed like everything happened so fast … but they’re good, man. They played well and they’ve deserved both games.”
Ashwin Chona was one for two with an infield single for Sage Hill, which collected just four hits. Hatz, Fishman and Drake Mossman also had singles.
Pate and Riddle each had two hits for the Tartans. Banks (1-0) earned the win in relief.
“With the win today, we’ve put ourselves in a good position, but Sage is a great team,” Wallis said. “They could very well beat us on Friday, beat Capo Valley Christian and win the whole league, too. At the end of the day, it’s a battle, but that’s what we wanted … Now we’re trying to get that recognition. We’re trying to get CIF to take notice of us, other newspapers, other organizations, and all of south [Orange] County at some point to recognize us as a legitimate baseball program.”