GLENDALE — More than a week removed from its last game, the Flintridge Prep baseball team didn’t appear rested, but rusty versus Prep League rival Pasadena Poly on Tuesday afternoon.
In a meeting of two of last season’s tri-league champions, the Panthers took advantage of some key hits, three Rebels’ errors and lack of offensive punch from Flintridge Prep in a 9-1 victory at the Glendale Sports Complex.
With the defeat, the CIF Southern Section Division VI sixth-ranked Rebels (6-4-1, 2-1) fell out of first place behind No. 4 Poly (6-5, 3-0).
“We got our [butt] kicked out there, that’s the easiest way to put it,” Rebels second-year Coach Guillermo Gonzalez said. “We didn’t come into this game with any confidence and it showed. We were shaky out there.
“I think a lot of that has to do with having a week off because of the weird scheduling last week. That didn’t help. But even with that, we made some mistakes that are uncharacteristic and we really fell apart, which is disappointing.”
Flintridge Prep, which took two of three from Poly last season, trailed the entire contest and was down, 4-1, entering the top of the seventh when the Panthers blew the game wide open.
Poly’s Zack Bern (two for four with a RBI and run scored) began the inning innocuously enough when the senior lofted a fly ball to the outfield, which was dropped for an error.
The gaffe snowballed when the next three Panthers walked, the last a free pass to Isaiah Barth that pushed in Bern to give Poly a 5-1 advantage.
Poly’s Bryan Gleason then singled in a run to increase the visitor’s lead to five.
Even with the two runs, it appeared the charge was just about over when the Panthers banged into a 6-3 line-drive double play for the inning’s first two outs.
Unfortunately for Flintridge Prep, there was no quick resolution.
Poly’s next two batters were plunked to force in a run, while Panthers senior David Orndorff capped an impressive afternoon with a two-run single that put Poly up, 9-1.
“We just didn’t do much right, whether that was pitching, hitting or defense,” Gonzalez said. “We were in the game for a while, but it got away from us.”
Orndorff finished three for four with a triple, two RBI and two runs scored.
Yet, his biggest contribution may have been on the bump as the 6-foot-5 right-hander improved to 3-1 and allowed only one run on three hits over six innings, while fanning five and walking two.
The Rebels scored their lone run in the third to pull within 2-1.
Sophomore Hamilton Evans singled to lead off the inning, advanced to second on a wild pitch and to third on a grounder from Isaac Kim.
Rebels senior Brendan McKiernan, the team’s leadoff batter and starting pitcher, then grounded to first in what should have been a run-scoring out, but reached first on an error at the bag.
McKiernan then advanced two bases on a throwing error from Orndorff and was at third with one out, but the Rebels couldn’t cash him in.
Poly responded with a run in the fifth, started by a triple from Orndorff, and a run in the sixth that came about due to two Rebels’ errors.
Poly initially led, 1-0, when a double from Kyle Beerman was cashed in. The Panthers then added a run in the third on back-to-back singles that produced a run on a groundout.
McKiernan (2-2) was tagged with the loss after allowing four runs (three earned) on 10 hits with three strikeouts versus one walk over six innings.
“We haven’t hit all season and then we put this type of effort together,” said Poly Coach Wayne Ellis of his club, which finished four for 13 with runners in scoring position with eight RBI. “We’re definitely not eight runs better than Prep.
“They had a rough day and we had a good day. We’ll see them again twice and I suspect the games will be much closer.”
Follow Andrew J. Campa on Twitter: @campadresports.