Taking control early of this Marine League clash with host Narbonne of Harbor City on Thursday, the Pirates dominated the first 4.5 innings en route to a 9-0 lead, then had to withstand a furious rally by the Gauchos in the final 2.5 innings and still had to withstand one final test with the bases loaded and two outs in the bottom of the seventh inning.
A line drive to right field sure looked like it was going to fall in, but sophomore right fielder Dom Porter makes a sensational diving catch to preserve San Pedro's 9-6 win over Narbonne, which completes the two-game opening sweep of the Gauchos to start off league play on the right track. Not only that, it puts the Pirates at a sparkling 13-1 overall record and a win streak currently at nine games.
Senior pitcher Anthony Scognamillo was cruising in the first four innings where he carried a no-hitter with four strikeouts in all into the bottom of the fifth inning... where he ran into some trouble.
Holding a big lead, it seemed like the Pirates would run away with the game until the Gauchos stormed back to score five runs, chasing Scognamillo from the game and inserting junior shortstop Josh Duarte from his position onto the mound to stop the bleeding. Narbonne was unable to capitalize with the bases loaded on a fly out to Porter to finally end the inning.
In the bottom of the sixth inning, the Gauchos (4-13 overall, 0-2 league) tried to threaten again with one out and a runner on first base, but a soft liner on a hit and run attempt went right to junior Zach Tyszkiewicz now at shortstop, who quickly fired to junior first baseman Travis Connelly for the inning-ending double play.
Duarte would earn the save after allowing one run to come across in the bottom of the seventh on a bases-loaded hit by pitch, but the next batter flied out to Porter for the dramatic final out.
Offensively, San Pedro pounded out ten hits against four Narbonne pitchers, and was on the attack from the outset.
Porter's RBI-single followed by an RBI-double from sophomore third baseman Dylan Kordic gave the Pirates a quick 2-0 first inning lead, then Kordic's hot shot to second base triggered an error and a 3-0 advantage in the third inning. Junior designated hitter Alex Pacheco lifted a deep sacrifice fly to center field to score another run that same inning.
Sophomore center fielder Jake Harper would increase the lead in the fourth inning with an RBI-single, then would be followed up by Duarte's RBI-single. Suddenly San Pedro was now in command with a 6-0 lead over Narbonne and they were not finished just yet.
With one out in the top of the fifth inning and a runner on first, Connelly would blast the first pitch he saw in his third at-bat well over the Narbonne scoreboard in deep center field for a mammoth 420-foot, two-run home run. A groundout by sophomore Ryan Crosthwaite would plate the final run for the Pirates, and the 9-0 lead was completed. On this day, it would be far from secure, but it would be more than enough for the win.
It's been an incredible season for San Pedro, who already matched last year's win total and have notched some impressive victories over Redondo Union, Serra of Gardena, Palisades Charter, San Fernando, Polytechnic of Sun Valley and Kennedy of Granada Hills.
Still there are eight Marine League games left to play, and fellow Marine League co-champion Banning of Wilmington is next up for San Pedro starting with the first meeting at Banning on Tuesday followed by the rematch at San Pedro next Thursday.
Harper, Duarte and Connelly all had two hits for San Pedro, who also defeated Narbonne 7-0 earlier in the week this past Tuesday at San Pedro High in which Connelly threw a three-hit shutout on just 57 pitches.