Shaky start doesn't derail Flintridge Prep baseball

GLENDALE — There wasn't much concern on the part of the players of the Flintridge Prep baseball team when they fell behind in the early innings Monday in their Prep League opener against Webb.

Although the Gauls scored all their runs as a result of Rebels' miscues, the players didn't panic.

"With all of us captains, we kind of emphasize that we don't want to let early problems like that affect us," Flintridge Prep senior starting pitcher Brendan McKiernan said. "We knew it was early in the game and we knew we could come back with all of the good hitters we have on the team. We just didn't let it faze us."

And come back they did.

The Rebels used a big seven-run third inning to erase the Webb deficit and allowed just one more run the rest of the way to notch an 11-7 league victory at the Glendale Sports Complex.

Flintridge Prep (4-2) — ranked No. 8 in CIF Southern Section Division VI — has had a bad habit of falling behind against opponents this season only to have to claw its way back.

"We have been doing that all season," said Flintridge Prep second-year Coach Guillermo Gonzalez, who is the reigning All-Area Baseball Coach of the Year after leading the Rebels to the semifinals for the first time since 1960 after sharing the league championship with Web and Pasadena Poly. "We seem to fall behind a lot and we have to make our way back. It's kind of tough to play that way sometimes.

"But we told them when we were down by three early, just chip away at the lead one by one and look at it that way. They stayed humble and we were able to get that one big inning that helped us."

McKiernan, who started on the mound for the Rebels, also batted in the leadoff spot. He had success on both sides of the plate. Along with going the distance and picking up the win in seven innings, McKiernan was also four for five with a run scored and a run batted in.

"He is just a great athlete," Gonzalez said of his hurler. "Anything that you ask him to do he'll do it. Whether it's pitching or hitting, he just always gives a great effort."

Webb (4-1, 2-1 in league) took advantage of a dropped fly ball in the outfield by the Rebels that resulted in a two-base error to get its first runner on base in the top of the first inning. The runner was brought home on a run-scoring double by Ian Henry.

In the second inning, Webb's John Mills walked and moved into scoring position on a passed ball. The Gauls made it 2-0 when Wyatt Albert doubled in Mills.

Another miscue in the third allowed Webb to take a 3-0 lead after Josh Hartman doubled and then scored when an attempted pickoff attempt at second bounced into the outfield.

"Mistakes like that are going to happen," McKiernan said. "It happens to every pitcher. The most important thing for me is just to move on to the next batter and not worry about the mistake. Eventually things will work themselves out."

Indeed, things did, in the form of a seven-run third inning for the Rebels in which they brought 12 players to the plate and tallied seven hits. The runs starting coming for Flintridge Prep when Michael Weinstein (two for five with three runs batted in) delivered a triple over the center fielder's head that scored two runs. The next batter, Jack Enzminger, also tripled to score Weinstein and knot the score at three.

The Rebels also received run-scoring singles in the third by Scott Tsangeos (two for four), Hamilton Evans and McKiernan.

"That inning was something we knew our guys were capable of doing," Gonzalez said.

After Web pushed across a single run in the top of the fifth inning, The Rebels made it 10-4 in their half of the fifth on RBI-singles by Cole Pilar and Weinstein.

Flintridge Prep added a run in the sixth when Daniel Chiarodit scored from third on an attempted steal at second base.

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