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St. Francis drops its sixth straight

Baseball: Crespi explodes for four runs in fourth and fifth to pull away from Golden Knights.

April 23, 2008|By Dylan Kruse

PASADENA — Mired in a near two-week long slump, the St. Francis High baseball team was hoping a showdown with a highly touted Crespi team would help it raise the level of play.

After Tuesday night’s 10-4 Mission League loss at the hands of the Celts, the No. 10 team in the latest CIF Southern Section Division III rankings, the Golden Knights will have to wait at least two more days to snap a now six-game losing streak.

Crespi, which entered the season as No. 1 team in Division III, roughed up St. Francis pitching to the tune of 11 hits and capitalized on three St. Francis errors that helped prolong innings.


After Knights starter Nick Gentili and Tyler Johnson were locked in a 1-0 game after three innings, the Celts (17-5, 6-1 in league) broke things open with four runs in both the fourth and fifth innings.

“Against a good team like this you can’t give them four or five outs in an inning,” said St. Francis Coach Brian Esquivel, whose club fell to 12-11, 2-7. “You can’t expect to win or stay close against a team that is going to put the ball in play constantly. You really need to play a good baseball game and we didn’t do it.”

The Golden Knights finally got their bats going in the fourth inning. Senior catcher Garret Salzman helped put the Knights on the board when he hit a soft flare that was perfectly placed between Crespi’s first and second basemen, allowing Kyle Wong to score and cutting the Celts’ lead to 5-1.

After Crespi made it 9-1 in the top of the fifth, St. Francis clawed right back.

Gentili and Jeff Johnson ripped back-to-back singles and Ramiro Carreon reached on an error to load the bases for clean-up hitter Wong.

After Gentili was thrown out at the plate trying to score on a passed ball, Wong, usually the Golden Knights’ leadoff man, crushed a single to right field, scoring Johnson and Carreon to make it 9-3 in favor of Crespi.

“We’re just trying to get something different going,” Esquivel said of the lineup changes.

The top of St. Francis’ order found success all night, as Gentili, Johnson and Carreon all collected two singles and scored a run. Gentili scored the Knights’ final run of the night in the bottom of the seventh.

Crespi’s trio of Division I pitchers — Johnson, Ryan Hawthorne and Sean Gilmartin — combined to fan 11 hitters.

St. Francis will get another crack against the Celts at Crespi at 3:45 p.m. on Thursday.

“For the most part, they are staying positive and they are busting their butts and doing everything as hard as they can,” Esquivel said.

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