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Rally gets Knights close

Baseball: St. Francis High suffers 9-8 league home loss against Alemany.

May 04, 2011|By Charles Rich, charles.rich@latimes.com

PASADENA — Their valiant bid to overcome an eight-run deficit fell short and now their bid to make the playoffs might have been jolted.

For the members of the St. Francis High baseball team, they know what needs to be done — win their last three Mission League games and hope it will land them a spot in the CIF playoffs.

St. Francis staged a frantic rally, but suffered a 9-8 league loss against Alemany on Tuesday afternoon at Jackie Robinson Field.

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St. Francis dropped to 11-13, 3-6 in league, while Alemany improved to 17-8, 6-5. The Golden Knights entered Tuesday's contest tied for fourth with Loyola and Sherman Oaks Notre Dame. They have a rematch at Alemany on Friday before closing out the regular season with a pair of games against Loyola next week.

The Golden Knights committed two costly errors that led to three unearned runs in the first three innings. Unfortunately for St. Francis, it couldn't overcome its slow start against an Alemany squad that maintained its grip on third place behind Chaminade and Harvard-Westlake. The top four teams from league earn automatic playoff berths.

"This was definitely a Mission League game and we didn't think we would roll over at any point," St. Francis Coach Brian Esquival said. "Alemany has got a good team and we had some opportunities where we didn't cash in.

"We made some big errors that cost us at least four runs. When you play good teams like that, you have to play errorless ball."

St. Francis closed to within 9-7 on a grand slam home run by Tei Vanderford in the sixth. The Golden Knights trimmed the deficit to 9-8 and had a runner on third with two outs. However, Alemany escaped when PJ Dezotell grounded out to third and was beaten by a stride.

"It was a chopper that I thought I could beat out," said Dezotell, who finished with three hits. "I knew it would be close.

"We rallied and that can give us confidence. We just have to keep playing."

St. Francis starting pitcher Joey Malham appeared to struggle with his command after retiring the side in order in the first. Malham also balked in two runs.

After St. Francis turned a double play, Malham hit Ryan Paramo with a pitch. Paramo moved to second on a single by Chase Davis. Then the Warriors took a 1-0 lead when Sean O'Brien's fly ball was dropped by the St. Francis left fielder.

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