The Stallions from Queens Grant High School fell short in the PAC-7 Championship game at Pine Lake Preparatory in a hard fought battle between two good ball clubs.
In the first inning the Stallions jumped off to a 2-0 lead when Spencer Smith smacked a double on the first pitch. Senior Clay Thaxton legged out an infield hit, Andy Duran singled in Smith for the RBI, then Bryce Gorospe hit a scorcher into center field that was misplayed to score the second run of the inning.
In the second inning the Pride from Mooresville, North Carolina loaded the bases with one out, starting pitcher Bryce Gorospe was able to get both batters to hit infield flies to escape a potentially disastrous inning. However, in the third frame the Pride tied the ballgame at 2-2 on a couple of hits, a walk and a few miscues on defense.
In the fourth inning the Pride had their lead-off hitter work a walk, the next batter was hit by a pitch, followed by a wild pitch put runners on second and third. They scored on a sacrifice bunt, followed by two consecutive singles for the second run, however, the Stallions were able to escape with no further damage on a pitcher to third to first double play. The Pride now held a 4-2 advantage after four frames.
In the fifth Gorospe lost the strike zone and walked the first two batters on nine pitches and threw a wild pitch on his tenth putting runners on second and third. Michael Ritch entered the game in relief, after getting the first two outs on a strikeout and infield fly, the next batter blasted a double in the gap for 2 RBI’s and a 6-2 Pride lead.
The Stallions chipped away at the lead in the sixth when Gorospe singled, Nick Kuebler would smack a triple down the right field line that would roll to the fence to score the runner. Enter pinch hitter Jacob Laplant with two outs who has good power to right center field, sure enough on the third pitch delivered he drills a line drive bullet over the right fielders head for a double to the fence and the RBI. Laplant was stranded when the next batter grounded out to end the inning with the Pride maintaining a 6-4 edge.
In the seventh the game became testy when Andy Duran lead-off with a walk, with John Orlowski in the batters box he swung at a low third strike in an apparent effort to protect the runner as Duran stole second base rather easily. The umpire called interference on Orlowski and called the Stallion runner at second base out. This immediately made two outs, instead of one with a runner on second base. The next three batters would reach base on two walks and an infield hit to load the bases. Then Michael Ritch was rung up on a low outside pitch to end the game on a 2-2 count.
The Stallions finished 14-8 overall and 9-3 in the PAC-7 Conference with all their losses coming from Pine Lake Preparatory. Senior pitcher Chase Williams would get the win on six innings of work giving up 7 hits, 1 earned run, 1 walk and 10 strikeouts. Junior Bryce Gorospe would suffer the loss while giving up only 2 earned runs on 5 hits, 5 walks, and 4 strikeouts.