First one of their own on the junior varsity level, Evan Jimenez, was the victim of a brutal beating during the first week of April. It brought their entire community together and miraculously by the grace of God through all the prayers from supporters, teammates, his family and others, he's still here and made a triumphant return on Tuesday to throw out the first pitch of the junior varsity game against Banning.
On Thursday, the varsity Pirates continued their marvelous run which culminates with a hard-fought 6-4 victory over visiting Banning of Wilmington to clinch their second Marine League championship in five years.
With two games against last place & winless Washington Prep of Los Angeles next week, the Pirates (14-13-1 overall, 7-1 league) have just about ended the title chase with a two-game sweep of the defending league kingpin Pilots (12-15, 5-3) which also included Tuesday's 1-0 victory at Banning.
San Pedro jumped on Banning early in the bottom of the first inning.
Senior shortstop Isaiah Bumgarner led off with a first-pitch single to center field, then senior center fielder Julian Rodriguez-Guevara's bunt triggering an error, putting runners at the corners.
The next four batters would all drive in a run, an RBI-ground out from junior left fielder Kai Kaneshiro, an RBI-single from freshman catcher Josh Duarte, an RBI-double from freshman designated hitter Alex Pacheco, followed by an error during a ground ball hit from junior first baseman Matt Marquez would give San Pedro a 4-0 lead before Banning finally ended the inning.
Duarte would then drill a double down the left field line in the bottom of the second inning with two outs to plate Bumgarner and Kaneshiro for San Pedro's final two runs, and a 6-0 lead.
Senior pitcher David Barraza hurled five solid shutout innings, striking out six in the first three innings, before the Pilots finally solved him in the sixth inning, scoring three runs on three hits, chasing him out of the game with one out leaving the bases loaded for junior relief pitcher Daniel Lopez, who gave up a hit to bring in a fourth run. A 6-4-3 double play ended the top of the sixth inning.
Another 6-4-3 double play by the Pirates' defense ended the game in the top of the seventh, setting off a wild dogpile celebration knowing they sealed up their first league championship since the 2012 team reached the CIF-Los Angeles City Section Division 1 semifinals.
Lopez pitched the final 1 2/3 innings to earn the save allowing two hits, striking out none with a walk, while Barraza earned the win with a solid 5 1/3 innings, scattering four runs on three hits, three walks and two hit batters.
San Pedro continues their season on Saturday morning with a nonleague game at Bell.