NORTHEAST GLENDALE — Mired in a losing streak as long as he can remember incurring during his 12 seasons at Flintridge Prep, Rebels baseball Coach Buzz Cook saw a shaky start against archrival Pasadena Poly characterized by fielding gaffes and baserunning miscues that was just the opposite of what he had hoped to see.
“And it got worse from there,” said Cook on Friday, not long after his Rebels had succumbed to the Panthers, 16-4, in a five-inning Prep League contest at the Glendale Sports Complex.
Poly (10-2, 5-0 in league), the second-ranked team in CIF Southern Section Division VI, has burst out to a dominating start in league play and jumped out to a commanding 4-0 start on Friday. From there on out, the game was never close.
“For one reason or another, we don’t show up against Poly,” said Cook, whose team has lost six straight games. “You’d think it would be just the opposite.”
The early deficit came as the Rebels (6-7, 3-2) committed three errors in the top of the first, which set an ominous tone. It was magnified in the bottom of the stanza after Alex Sierra singled to lead off for the Rebels. Sierra should have later advanced on a wild pitch, but did not. Then Kyle McDonald was robbed on a shot up the middle that turned into a fielder’s choice, but would have been an infield single with runners on the corners had Sierra advanced on the wild pitch. Instead, the Rebels ended the inning harmlessly on a 6-4-3 double play.
Three more runs came across for Poly in the second before Prep answered with its biggest highlight.
Royce Park, who also had a walk and scored in the fourth, pulled a solo home run over the left-field fence to cut the score to 7-1.
But it certainly wasn’t the sign of things to come, as Poly erupted for nine-run third inning that clearly put the game away.
“Certainly not the effort I hoped for,” Cook said. “What bothered me most was the defense or lack thereof.”
In all, the Rebels made six errors — two more than their number of hits. That, coupled with four Rebels pitchers allowing 13 Poly hits, six walks and hitting two batters added up to a long day even with the abbreviated game.
Prep made the game more respectable with a three-run fourth, as Clayton Weirick singled in Kyle McDonald and Karlsen Termini later doubled in Park and Weirick.
Displeased as Cook was with the Rebels’ performance, his message after the game was to move on. With Rio Hondo Prep awaiting Tuesday, a march to second place is still a possibility.
“At this point, we’re gonna try and get second place,” he said. “If we can have a good week next week, we’ll be right back in it. ... We’ll get it turned around.”