It doesn't seem to have a stop just yet, but the Pirates were able to accomplish one of their goals on Tuesday, defend the Marine League championship.
In a battle between two Marine League powers and the beginning of a crucial two-game series, San Pedro came into this first meeting with visiting Carson coming off three straight losses which followed a spectacular 18-game winning streak that got the attention of the school, the city of San Pedro, and the entire CIF-Los Angeles City Section, but the recent losing skid begun when talented junior Travis Connelly suffered an injury to his foot running the bases.
Consider that losing streak over and a possible new winning streak beginning.
Not playing a game in eight days seemed to recharge the Pirates, including Connelly, who threw a spectacular one-hit complete game shutout to defeat Carson, 1-0, also putting a firm stranglehold on the Marine League title picture.
Thanks to the narrowest of victories, San Pedro (23-4 overall, 7-0 league) is now two games up over Carson (17-11, 5-2) and everyone else in the Marine League is three games or more behind. Just one more win will lock up a third straight league crown for the Pirates after sharing the crown with both Carson and Banning last season. San Pedro and Carson will meet again on Thursday at Carson High, but the Pirates have the edge with Gardena next week as the Pirates' final regular season opponent.
San Pedro did all the little things that go unnoticed that led to big time results.
With one out in the top of the first inning, a two-base throwing error by sophomore shortstop Cain Lusic was quickly atoned for on a ground ball hit right back to Lusic, who promptly threw to third base for a force out. With the one runner on first, junior catcher Waldie Perez nailed the runner trying to steal second base to end the inning.
Carson's best chance to score came early in the top of the fourth inning, with one out, Connelly struck out Carson senior first baseman Andrew Gutierrez looking, but then the Colts loaded the bases on another error. Still the Pirates were able to shut it down as senior right fielder Anthony Scognamillo caught a line drive in shallow ground to get out of the jam,
The very next inning saw San Pedro's resourcefulness resurface in the bottom of the fifth.
Sophomore center fielder Jake Harper hit a hot shot towards first base to lead off the inning, but the ball was booted and Harper motored into second base. With one out, Harper stole third and would score on a sacrifice fly by sophomore left fielder Dom Porter on the next pitch for the 1-0 San Pedro lead. Incredibly enough, that would be all the Pirates would need on this day... but there was still one more big play on defense the Pirates needed to make.
Once again, it would be Scognamillo who would come up with the clutch defensive play.
There was one out in the top of the sixth inning when Carson senior designated hitter Miguel Ceja laced a single to right field. In most cases, it would score a run. Scognamillo, who is also San Pedro's second go-to pitcher, would fire a strong throw without any cutoff to gun down Carson senior shortstop Jaja Bellinger at home plate, erasing a run.
Connelly would promptly retire the next four batters in succession to conclude matters for San Pedro, capping off his one-hit shutout in which he struck out six and only walked two Colt batters.
Senior pitcher Nick Salas was great on the mound for Carson, only surrendering two hits: a lead-off double to Lusic in the first inning, and a one-out single by Harper in the third inning, while striking out three. Yet Salas also walked two and hit four batters, plus the Colts defense came undone with four critical errors.