Baseball sweeps Notre Dame, closes in on playoff berth

 

By Jack Davis

After another dramatic come-from-behind win in a season full of them, the varsity baseball team is closing in on the playoffs after a two-year drought.

The boys started out strong in league play early with a six-run-come-from-behind win over Alemany in the first league series of the year.

That win improved the boys’ league record to 1-1. However, the squad was swept in their next series against Chaminade.

The Chaminade sweep left the Wolverines with a 1-3 league record and out of the playoff picture. The top three teams in the six-team Mission League qualify for the playoffs.

But the squad bounced backed quickly by taking advantage of non-league opponents.

The team beat Long Beach Millikan 8-6 in the Redondo Beach Tournament, setting off a run in which the team won six of their next seven games, all against non-league competition.

“The quality of baseball in the Mission League is truly incredible,” catcher Andrew Shanfeld ’10 said. “Since over the last few years we have become accustomed to playing against such top level competition, we always feel very confident when we are playing games outside our league,” Shanfeld said.

The Wolverines’ strong play outside of the Mission League allowed the team to start firing on all cylinders as league play resumed with rival Notre Dame.

The squad started out the Notre Dame series strong with another come-from-behind win, working their way from an early 2-0 deficit to beat the Fighting Irish 9-6. The game featured aggresive play from both sides and small on-field skirmishes.

“It was pretty intense,” outfielder Oliver Lowry ’10 said. “There was a lot of chirping going on and it was pretty physical on the field, a lot of hard slides and stuff like that. But our team has a fearless attitude.”

After edging out Notre Dame in the first match, the Wolverines blew out their rival in the second game, winning 13-0 as third baseman Jordan Orringer ’11 hit a grand slam and Austin Kamel ’12 threw a complete game shutout to power the Wolverines.

The sweep moved the Wolverines’ league record to 3-3, setting up a crucial series with St. Francis.

In the first game of the two-game set, St. Francis jumped out to a 6-0 lead after five innings, leaving the Wolverines only two innings to try and right the ship.

“We were just playing awful,” Lowry said.

But as poorly as the Wolverines played for the first five innings, they were able to quickly turn it around in the sixth.

The first two hitters in the inning walked, the next batter singled and the rally was on. The Wolverines scored seven runs in the inning, pulling off a dramatic 7-6 victory that moved their league record above 500 for the first time all year.

“This team just has that belief,” Shanfeld said. “No matter the deficit we have that feeling we can pull out any game and that has been on display this year.”

However, the Wolverines were edged out by St. Francis the next day 8-7, bringing their league record to 4-4.

The Wolverines started a series with Loyola yesterday, the results of which were not available as of press time.

The team has another game against Loyola tomorrow. The Wolverines end their season with a series against current Mission League leader Crespi. If the team wins three of their final four remaining league games, they will qualify for the playoffs.

“Playoffs is the goal, anything less is unacceptable,” Shanfeld said.

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