Story by Linda Yun
Photos by Emiko Essmiller
Baseball became co-champions of the RHL with a 4-1 victory against the Temple City Rams on Senior Night, April 27 in the final game of the regular season.
The afternoon began with the national anthem sung by senior Lauren Dubria. With a senior-heavy team, a long procession proceeded commemorating ten SPHS seniors – Carlo Maling, Jason Yipp, Ben Petrillo, Jack Holley, Ivan Becerra, Quinn Stirling, Will Guy, Will Shin, Jude Felix, and team manager Jeremy Bruce. Head coach Jaime Garcia spoke of the graduating class as they walked down the field with their families to take photos.
The first pitch of the game was thrown by senior manager Jeremy Bruce, which kickstarted the first inning. Senior Ben Petrillo, later awarded player of the game, shone on the mound and struck out two players in the first inning.
“From the beginning, we kind of thought that this was our team, this [was] our chance,” Petrillo commented. “Today was a good segway into [our CIF run] where we proved that we do have a chance.”
In the bottom of the inning, junior Luke Riffle led off with a line drive hit. Yipp singled past the shortstop and both runners advanced one base. Stirling hit a bomb to right field, bringing Riffle home with a headfirst-dive. Felix hit a line drive up the middle which was fielded by the opposing shortstop, but a weak toss to second allowed Stirling to take second and Yipp to come home. This made the score 2-0.
No runs were scored in the second inning, as Temple City’s leadoff batter was retired by first baseman Guy, who made a sliding stop and dove to first to complete the out.
“I think this past season has been amazing,” Guy reflected. “Considering that we have been last in league for the past four years, I couldn’t be happier with our performance.”
Like the Rams, the Tigers could not find runs in the second inning either. Becerra hit a pop fly to second base, which was caught. Holley grounded out to first. Riffle hit next, and struck out. The score remained the same.
With the bases loaded in the bottom of the third inning, Guy hit a hard line drive and walked to first, bringing Felix home to lengthen the Tiger lead.
Maling recorded the last out and the Tigers wrapped up their final league matchup with a comfortable 4-1 victory. The players jumped up in unison to celebrate their first league title in 25 years.
“With the team that we have and the talents that we have, a win against Temple City was definitely expected,” coach Garcia said. “That being said, I’m very proud of our performance this season.”
Despite the loss of nine crucial seniors, baseball aims to take the challenge in stride and lean on new and current talents next year.
“We are going to miss every one of [the seniors],” Garcia added. “The good thing is, we do have a lot of sophomores and juniors that we relied on this year, and more players moving up from the lower levels.”
Baseball is looking to transform its success in the regular season into a historic CIF run. The opening game will be held in the first week of May, with more details to come.