GLENDALE — There’s been some signs of growth throughout the first half of the season for the St. Francis High baseball team.
Yet, in the view of St. Francis coach Aaron Dorlarque, there’s still a tremendous opportunity for the Golden Knights to improve while competing in the tough Mission League.
It’s been a work in progress during league action, something St. Francis found out during a 9-6 home loss against Crespi on Wednesday at the Glendale Sports Complex.
“We have some games in which we compete on the mound and not compete at the plate, and then there are other times, like today, when we competed at the plate and we didn’t on the mound,” said Dorlarque, whose team saw its comeback bid fall short after leaving the bases loaded with two outs in the seventh with the potential winning run at the plate. “We have made a lot of improvement since the start of the season, so now we have to find a way to string together some wins in league and get back on track.
“We have to find a way to put things together. I think we can do that because I like the way our guys go out there and grind.”
St. Francis (8-10, 2-6 in league) built a 3-0 lead in the first inning before Crespi (9-8, 5-6) scored four runs in the third to take a 4-3 lead. Crespi scored four runs in the fourth to make it 8-4.
“I liked the way we battled in the first inning,” said Dorlarque, who received a season-high four hits from lead-off hitter Mikey Kane. “We just needed to find a way the rest of the game to play a complete game.”
St. Francis took a 1-0 lead on a run-scoring double by Matt Odom. The Golden Knights later extended the lead to 3-0 on a two-run triple by Tommy Italia.
Crespi enjoyed a huge third to take the lead. Alex Sepulveda trimmed the deficit to 3-1 with a run-scoring single, followed by a bases-loaded double by Andrew Jacobson to give the Celts a 4-3 advantage.
The Golden Knights tied it at 4 on a single by Brendan Durfee in their half of the inning.
Any momentum gained by the Golden Knights didn’t last long.
A bunt single by Crespi’s Jackson Bennattar gave the Celts a 5-4 lead in the fourth. A two-run triple by Devin Kougher made it 7-4 before an RBI single by Jack Weaver extended the lead to 8-4.
Sepulveda registered a run-scoring infield hit to make it 9-4 in the fifth.
St. Francis scored two runs in the seventh. An RBI single by Kane trimmed the deficit to 9-5 and Doyle Kane recorded a bases-loaded walk to make it 9-6 with two outs.
Odom flew out to center to end the game, giving Weaver the save.
“We gave ourselves a chance at the end and we never stopped fighting,” said Mikey Kane, who had four singles and scored one run. “We’ve played some very good games this season and you see that there’s a lot of great competition out there in our league.”
Bradyn Muro had two hits for St. Francis, which got two runs from Odom.
Crespi received two hits apiece from Sepulveda, Dante Tardino and Parker Smith. Tardino, Bennttar and Kougher each scored two runs.