On a day where the Pirates celebrated their five seniors, the entire team rose up to the challenge of facing Marine League foe Carson one more time, and with the winning prize being the Marine League championship, San Pedro reversed the trend of falling behind early and coming back, by getting ahead early, and staying that way in defeating the visiting Colts, 9-3 at San Pedro High.
With their second win over the Colts in three meetings, San Pedro (12-1 overall, 8-1 league) made a legitimate case for themselves to possibly be either the top or second seed of the CIF-Los Angeles City Section Open Division playoffs when pairings are announced on Friday, June 4.
San Pedro took the initiative early instead of spotting Carson (11-2, 7-2) an early edge, retiring the Colts in order to start the game, then taking a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning with a hot shot grounder through shortstop for an error laced by senior third baseman Sierra Sandoval, allowing junior Emily Robledo to score. Then sophomore catcher Izabella Chavez blasted a two-out RBI-single for another run.
The combined pitching efforts of Chaminade-bound senior Kirstin Sanchez and junior Vanessa Reed was good enough on this day to tame the powerful Colts bats long enough for the Pirates to be victorious, but the awesome efforts of the starting outfielders, senior left fielder Makayla Martinez, freshman right fielder Izabella Galan, along with Reed in center field and Sanchez in right, were not to be under-appreciated, as the Pirates caught nine fly balls in the outfield.
The only one that wasn't coming back, was Carson senior first baseman Natalie Pozo's two-run home run which clipped the San Pedro scoreboard and knotted the score at 2-2 with two outs in the top of the third inning.
Normally, when the Colts hit home runs they happen in bunches, like they did in the second meeting on May 18 at Carson High for a 12-3 win, but Sanchez and the outfield remained calm, cool and collected, and then came the rebuttal by the Pirates' offense in the bottom of the third.
A first-pitch double off the right-center field fence by Bentley-bound second baseman Jordan 'Jo Jo' Krause almost prompted shades of her walk-off home run to defeat the Colts, 9-8 on May 6, but she gladly settled for the double because it spawned a three-run inning. After Sandoval reached on Carson's second error of the game, she and Krause both scored on Chavez's second single, and then sophomore courtesy runner Marissa Markel, who advanced to third on a groundout, raced home on a passed ball for a 5-2 San Pedro advantage.
Carson senior Desire Hernandez tagged Sanchez for a two-out RBI-double in the top of the fourth inning to cut the Colts' deficit down to 5-3, but no more damage was done after that,
True to form, San Pedro continued on the attack of Carson senior pitcher Jaclyn Gonzalez in the bottom of the fourth starting with Galan's leadoff single, then with two outs, Krause singled then stole second base, allowing for Sandoval to drill a double that one-hopped the right-center field fence, scoring both Krause and Galan for a 7-3 lead.
San Pedro coach Leanna Flores then made the pitcher-outfield switcheroo with Sanchez and Reed, who only surrendered an infield single to Pozo, the first batter she faced to leadoff the fifth inning, then she seamlessly retired the final nine Carson hitters in succession, striking out four. However, the Pirates were far from satisfied.
Galan triggered one final scoring push in the bottom of the sixth with a leadoff double, then scored on a infield single by Martinez, who was thrown out at second base trying to stretch out an extra base. Sanchez then got hit by a pitch, then with two outs, came around to score the final run on another single from Sandoval.
When Reed induced a comebacker ground ball right back to her for the final out, the Pirates rejoiced in capturing their storied program's 26th overall league championship.
Despite not striking out a single batter, Sanchez still earned the win in the circle, scattering three runs (one unearned) on five hits, walking only Carson's Mississippi State-bound third baseman Leilani Pulemau twice. Reed earned the save with three solid innings of near-perfect relief. Sandoval went 2-for-4 with a double and 3 RBIs, while Chavez went 2-for-4 with a pair of RBIs. Krause and Galan also pumped out two hits for San Pedro.
Flores becomes just the third coach in program history to win a league championship in his/her first season, joining two former Pirate coaching legends, Tim Ursich Sr. and Tony Dobra.