Flintridge Prep baseball snaps playoff drought

GLENDALE — With a fresh start, the members of the Flintridge Prep baseball team have accomplished two things this season that haven’t been done since the 1990s.

Under the guidance of first-year coach Guillermo Gonzalez, the Rebels won their first Prep League championship since 1997. Flintridge Prep then crossed off another item off its check list Friday.

PHOTOS: Flintridge Prep vs. Santa Paula baseball

Karlsen Termini hit a two-run home run and starting pitcher Brenden McKiernan tossed a complete game to lift Flintridge Prep to a 14-6 home victory against Santa Paula in a CIF Southern Section Division VI first-round contest at the Glendale Sports Complex.

It marked the first time since 1999 that the Rebels won a postseason contest. Flintridge Prep improved to 16-8 and will meet Kern Valley in a second-round road contest Tuesday.

“It’s fantastic to finally be able to win a playoff game,” said Termini, a first baseman who hit a two-run home run in the third inning to stake Flintridge Prep to a 4-0 lead. “Winning the league title was great, but this is even better.

“Everybody picks themselves up here and gets a big hit. We also got a quality start from Brenden.”

Flintridge Prep, which shared the league championship with Pasadena Poly and Webb, registered 17 hits to turn back Santa Paula (14-11).

At first, things didn’t appear as if they would be easy for the Rebels.

McKiernan found himself in a bases-loaded jam in the first with one out. The right-hander, who along with several other juniors had just arrived back earlier in the day from a retreat in El Capitan, then recorded a strikeout and a line out to second to escape trouble.

“I found energy to get out of that jam,” said McKiernan, who struck out four. “I think the momentum shifted right there.

“The older guys on the team picked us up. We were able to then get some big hits.”

The Rebels fed off the early turning point.

Flintridge Prep took a 1-0 lead in the first on a run-scoring single with two outs by Daniel Enzminger. It extended the lead to 2-0 in the second on a run-scoring double by Dylan Arya before Termini’s two-run home run padded the advantage to 4-0.

Scott Tsangeos scored on a wild pitch in the fourth to make it 5-0.

Santa Paula, which finished tied for third in the Frontier League before earning a 10-0 wild-card victory against Marshall Fundamental on Tuesday, received a two-run single from Ryan Montelongo to slice the deficit to 5-2 in the fifth. However, the Rebels countered with four runs in their half of the fifth, including a bases-loaded triple by Tsangeos to give them an 8-2 lead. Arya followed with a run-scoring single to make it 9-2 and a run-scoring single by Cole Rademacher made it 10-2.

Gonzalez said McKiernan and Termini jump-started the Rebels.

“That first inning was a little rough for Brenden, but he went out there and kept them off-balance the rest of the way,” Gonzalez said. “Luckily, things went our way in getting out of the bases-loaded jam.

“Karlsen’s home run was real big because it gave us some breathing room. That home run seemed to spark our whole offense.”

Flintridge Prep scored five runs in the sixth to make it 14-2. A two-run double by Cole Pilar closed out the scoring for the Rebels.

The Cardinals scored four runs in the seventh to complete the scoring.

Pilar, Enzminger and Arya finished with three hits apiece. Flintridge Prep got two each from Weinstein and Clayton Weirick.

McKiernan scored three runs for the Rebels, who got two each from Enzminger, Weinstein, Weirick and Tsangeos.

“It’s great for the guys to win a playoff game and it’s quite an accomplishment,” Gonzalez said. “They delivered and they don’t want to stop.”

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