Nitros shut out by South Pasadena, 2-0

SOUTH PASADENA — Often times in baseball, the catcher is referred to as the team's quarterback.

At South Pasadena High, however, there are at least two quarterbacks.

Sophomore pitcher Joey Harmon, who doubles as the football team's starting signal-caller, was the catalyst for his team's success Tuesday afternoon, scattering two hits over six shutout innings as the Tigers concluded nonleague play with a 2-0 victory versus visiting Glendale.

"We're 5-2 in nonleague [games] and we open Friday against Temple City, a good team," said Harmon, who improved to 2-1. "We're going to have to bring our 'A' game and play like we did today."

Harmon fanned five Nitros (1-2) and was dominant when needed.

His most impressive display came in the second after Glendale senior catcher Rafael Rios led off with a single and advanced to second on a wild pitch with no outs.

The wild pitch and subsequent ball thrown on the next pitch brought the count versus Glendale's Jason Marquez to 3-2.

Harmon bounced back by striking out Marquez on a high fastball and then fanned the next two batters on seven pitches, six of which were fastballs.

"No disrespect to [Glendale], but as a coaching staff if you're looking at the opposing hitters and a lot of swings they're taking, they can't catch up to the fastball," South Pasadena Coach Anthony Chevrier said. "There's no reason to throw a change-up or curve and give them time to speed up their bat."

The second inning highlighted a frustrating theme for Glendale, which went 0 for six with runners in scoring position with three strikeouts and a double play.

Overall, the Nitros batted 0 for nine with a runner on base.

"We had guys in scoring position, we just couldn't get that key hit," Nitros Coach Jesus Osuna said. "That really was the difference. I was dying for one and we just couldn't get it."

South Pasadena wasn't much better, finishing one for six with runners in scoring position with two runs batted in.

The Tigers' lone hit came from No. 9 batter Miguel Lagunas, who chopped a bases-loaded two-out hit over the head of Nitros pitcher Daniel Aragon (0-2) in the fourth inning.

The bouncing ball died in the infield and allowed Tigers catcher Skyler Ensalmo to score from third to put South Pasadena ahead, 2-0.

Aragon didn't lose his composure, though, and struck out Matt Pinson to end the inning.

"He pitched well and certainly didn't deserve the loss," Osuna said of Aragon, who allowed two runs (one earned) in a complete-game six-inning effort in which he scattered six hits and fanned three. "We just couldn't get the offense going."

South Pasadena's first run came in the second inning when Ensalmo walked, advanced to second on a balk with no outs, and scored on back-to-back sacrifice bunts, the second a safety squeeze from Bryan Bednarski.

Glendale had one final chance in the seventh when consecutive infield errors by the Tigers put runners on first and second with one out.

Yet, Glendale's next batter banged into a 6-3 double play to end the game.

Perhaps the game's best defensive play came in the sixth, when a diving grab by Tigers right fielder Keaton Leach stole a single from Glendale's Sergio Solano.

One of the weirder moments came in the top of the first when the game was delayed a few minutes by a swarm of bees that moved from right field over to third and eventually off the field.

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