SAN JOSE – In a tumultuous season for Archbishop Mitty, with memorable highs and a few lows, the monarch was all smiles as she left the Excite Ballpark on Saturday.
They captured the Central Coast Section Division II championship with a 9–0 win over Branham.
Mitty played a brilliant defence, capitalized on Branham’s mistakes and got some big hits as well.
The Monarchs also got a good run from senior right-hander Antonio Cabrera, who pitched the two-hitter. He ended the game with his ninth strikeout.
“All CCS our pitchers step up,” said coach Brian Yoke. “AC did well in the first game, gave us a great chance against Leh. Then there’s a full game going on against (Luca) Pintar Serra and then back to AC and there’s a full game going on here tonight.
“I’m very proud of resilience. Our pitching was kind of off and lasted all year, but they never stopped working. They never give up on themselves. They never give up on each other. They’re there for these moments. Keep working hard so that they are ready to answer the call when it matters most – and they did.”
Branham, who reached the final with a pinch of two runs in the seventh innings against Wilcox on Thursday, tried to maintain the momentum in the first innings on Saturday.
Matt Garcia started the game with a walk and a later single in the hole by Tyler Siegel at shortstop. With two outs, Eliza Bustamante tosses the ball into middle zone.
Before he could even take the field for a run-scoring hit, Danny Scudero did what he has done several times this season. Center fielder charges and takes a lunging catch.
“He does it every day in practice,” Cabrera said. “It’s routine for him. He’s a fast guy.”
How big was a play like Scudero?
“It allows me to know that I can pound the strike zone, and I have the confidence to play in my defense,” Cabrera said. “It’s a great group of people. We enjoy playing with each other and for each other every day.”
Mitty scored all the required runs in the first innings. The Monarchs loaded the base without an out and took a 1-0 lead at shortstop on a force-out from Matteo Blandino. Cabrera chased down two batsmen to make it 2-0 from the left for a single later.
Two more runs in the third extended the lead to 4-0.
The Monarchs turned the game into a turnaround with four runs in the sixth. The team’s catcher, Blandino, got a big hit in the frame, launching a two-run triple into a right-center-field gap.
“Crushed,” said the yoke. “He’s been doing this all year round, with the runners in the scoring position, especially working on the opposite-field difference.
“He did a great job behind the plate for us all year. Transferred to that position this year. Wasn’t a catcher last year. Haven’t caught much over the summer. We were a few guys short in that position. He took the mantle and Really took it under control. Really proud of that.”
In the sixth inning on Saturday, Yoke gave Blandino a stop sign at second base. But the big player’s break failed him and he slipped to the third position.
“He’s not listening to me,” said the yoke playfully. “Okay. As long as you’re safe, you don’t need to listen.”
Jaren Edwincula scored two hits and four runs and David Estrada ran three times and scored one as Mitty improved to 21-10.
Siegel and Jacob Rinehart accounted for two of Branham’s hits.
The Bruins finished 21-9.
Mitty will continue his season at the inaugural California Interscholastic Federation NorCal Regional next week.
Is that a good thing?
“I love the opportunity to spend another day with my people,” Yoke said.