NORTHEAST GLENDALE — The Jewel City Kiwanis squad received some unlucky news the night before playing in the second round of the District 16 Tournament of Champions Minor Baseball Tournament — one of its top players had suffered a broken finger.
While there's no telling if Ethan Miller's bat and pitching would have done anything to change or prevent the 14-9 defeat to the Pacific Dolphins on Friday at Babe Herman Field, Kiwanis Coach Rafael Larin said he sure could have used him.
"It was a big loss," said Larin, who had a four-hit day from Miller in the team's first-round win. "He would have pitched the middle innings, but instead we had to throw a lot of arms out there."
Jewel City used four pitchers to try and shut down a potent Dolphins lineup. Starting pitcher Thomas Hoffman lasted just over one inning, giving up three runs in the first, set off by Tony McCalmont's infield single that plated leadoff hitter Vincent Parrott.
McCalmont proved to be a thorn in the side of all four of Jewel City's pitchers as he finished day with five runs batted in. As a team, the Dolphins sprayed seven hits to Jewel City's four.
"We have seven kids who can hit the ball," Dolphins Coach Ed Parrott said. "This was a team effort though from the pitching to the hitting. Everybody did their part and we got a good victory."
The No. 2 hitter for the Dolphins was back in the batter's box in the second inning, this time facing Ryan Januzik. With two on and one out, McCalmont connected on a triple that scored two runs and increased the Dolphins' lead to 5-2.
Pacific scored three more in the inning, bringing into effect the five-run rule.
After three innings and another five-run rule, Jewel City found itself with an 11-run deficit.
Without Miller, the Kiwanis lineup managed just two hits and one earned run through two innings off Dolphins starting pitcher Nate Nuttall.
Having already given up a RBI single to Jacob Erdmier, Nuttall favored his shoulder midway through the third inning and was pulled for Nico Khoury, who allowed two runs to come across on passed balls. The three runs in the inning brought the game to 13-5.
Erdmier, who had relieved Aaron Garcia with one out in the third inning, was back on the mound for the fourth, where he made quick work of the Dolphins, but not before allowing an unearned run to leadoff hitter Nuttall, who hit a liner to right that was misplayed, allowing Nuttall to come all the way around.
With seemingly an insurmountable lead, Kiwanis only had the fourth inning to get the nine runs due to the two hours maximum time allotted a minor baseball game. Jewel City put up a fight, scoring four runs on just one hit — a RBI single off the bat of Colby Larin. With runners on second and third, Khoury recorded his fourth strikeout of the game to end the threat and the game.
"During the late innings we made some runs, but they weren't enough at the end of the day," Larin said.
Jewel City received RBIs from Hoffman for the team's first run in the first inning, Erdmier and Larin.
The Dolphins received a better well-balanced attack. In addition to McCalmont's five runs batted in, Khoury and Devon Ramaker added three runs batted a piece.
Pacific, the second-seeded team in the tournament, will play Sunday night at Montrose Park against either Guiseppi's or Foothill Athletic.