GLENDALE — Wins have been scarce for the Flintridge Prep baseball team against nemesis and Prep League rival Pasadena Poly.
Between 2005-2012, the Rebels posted a 3-21 mark against the Panthers, who have won 17 league championships in a row.
With a new coach on board, Flintridge Prep is looking to reverse that trend. It got off to a good start Tuesday afternoon.
Starting pitcher Brenden McKiernan tossed a four-hitter and center fielder Daniel Enzminger had two hits and made a game-changing catch to lead host Flintridge Prep to a 5-1 victory against Pasadena Poly at the Glendale Sports Complex.
“We’ve wiped the slate clean and want to start something strong for our team,” said McKiernan, who improved to 3-0. “We have a new coaching staff and they have talked about them wanting us to play with confidence.
“We have been doing that. To start off league with a win, especially against Pasadena Poly, makes it huge.”
Flintridge Prep, under first-year coach Guillermo Gonzalez, improved to 7-2. Pasadena Poly, ranked No. 5 in the latest CIF Southern Section Division VI poll, dropped to 3-4, 2-1 in league.
Flintridge Prep, which went 1-2 against Pasadena Poly last season, showed marked improvement defensively Tuesday. The Rebels made two errors and held the Panthers at bay.
“We are improving everywhere,” said Gonzalez, whose team finished with six hits and stole five bases en route to winning its sixth game in a row. “We are going to send a message to the rest of the league that we are here to compete.
“Before the game, I was telling our guys that a game like this will show the coaches and the players what we can be like.”
Pasadena Poly took a 1-0 lead in the first inning. David Orndorff sliced a double to right to score Caleb Lee with two outs.
Unfazed, Flintridge Prep knotted it at 1 in its half of the first. Orndorff (2-1) walked Clayton Weirick on a full count with the bases loaded and two outs.
The Rebels took a 2-1 lead in the third when Enzminger hit a run-scoring single to score Cole Pilar, who reached base four times.
Flintridge Prep capitalized on a pair of Pasadena Poly errors in the fourth to extend the lead to 3-1. Pilar hit a grounder to the first baseman, who booted the ball toward second. Flintridge Prep’s Cole Rademacher scored from second on a throwing error by the second baseman.
The Panthers threatened in the fifth, putting two runners on with two outs. Lee then drove a ball to deep center field, where Enzminger raced back and made a circus catch to quell the Panthers’ comeback bid.
“That’s a great catch,” Pasadena Poly Coach Wayne Ellis said. “They made the plays and we didn’t.
“Good for them. They pitched well enough to win. [Orndorff] pitched well, but they just beat us. It’s a new year, so we can’t rest on our laurels.”
McKiernan, a right-hander, said Enzminger’s catch kept the momentum with Flintridge Prep.
“That’s a great catch by Daniel,” said McKiernan, who struck out four. “He’s got great range and he pushed it to the limit with that catch.”
The Rebels closed out the scoring with a pair of runs in the sixth. A throwing error by the catcher made it 4-1 before Pilar had a run-scoring single.
Flintridge Prep and Pasadena Poly will meet two more times this season. The teams will meet April 30 at Poly and May 3 at the Glendale Sports Complex.