Angel Stadium was the site on Thursday afternoon for a Trinity League game between JSerra and Servite, and the atmosphere helped both teams perform as if they were in a CIF championship game.
For six innings, JSerra freshman left-hander Jack Owen and Servite senior ace Ryan Alsworth threw shutouts. Owen struck out eight, walked one and allowed four hits. Alsworth retired nine consecutive batters, struck out six, walked none and allowed one hit.
Then came the decisive seventh inning in a scoreless game. JSerra reliever Parker Joe Robinson had runners on second and third with two outs. The count went to 3-and-2 against pinch hitter Matt Woinarowicz. Robinson came through with a strikeout.
In the bottom of the seventh, Chase Strumpf led off with an infield single. Jake Pries reached on catcher's interference on a bunt. Strumpf moved to third on a fly out. Up came Robinson, who put down a squeeze bunt on a two-strike pitch, giving JSerra a 1-0 victory.
The Lions (7-1, 3-0) got only two hits off Alsworth, but they played well defensively, particularly junior catcher Sam Cohen, who was magnificent helping Owen navigate the Servite hitters. Then it was up to Robinson, a Texas signee, to come through under pressure.
"On the mound, you want to keep on breathing and believe in your stuff," he said. "I got myself into a jam and got myself out. Then, at the plate, with two strikes, you have to slow things down and make it happen. We got the win."
Both schools appreciated the opportunity to play at Angel Stadium. The schools worked out a deal they could use the field if they helped sell tickets for the Angels.
"This is exciting for everybody," Servite Coach Jeff Sears said.