GLENDALE — Perhaps it’s fair to say that both the Glendale High and La Salle baseball teams have hoped for different starts to the 47th annual Babe Herman Tournament.
Each squad was 0-2 heading into Tuesday afternoon’s game at Glendale High and both were hoping for a win as much as just improved play as the tournament wraps up Wednesday.
“We’re young, so we have to work that much harder and play that much harder and grit it out like we did today,” said Lancers Coach Harry Agajanian, the reigning All-Area Coach of the Year. “The last two games, we came up with goose eggs, so getting anything on the board is a win.”
The Lancers (6-3), who have been shut out in three of their last four contests, created some separation via a two-run fourth inning in taking a 4-1 advantage versus Glendale (1-6).
Only up, 2-1, to start the frame, the Lancers immediately placed runners in scoring position versus Nitros starting pitcher Andrew Swett when catcher George Medina led off the inning with a walk, Ruben Martinez singled and both advanced a bag on a wild pitch.
Medina then scored the Lancers’ first run of the inning on a RBI groundout from Nathan Bouton, while Martinez came home on a sacrifice fly from Ryan Garcia (two RBI and run).
While Glendale countered with a run in the bottom of the inning on a RBI single from Thaddeus Wilson (two RBI) that plated teammate Ryan Vargas, the Lancers scored their own run in the top of the fifth via a booming double from Medina that drove in Vincent Alberico.
The double gave the Lancers a 5-2 advantage, one that reached four runs in the top of the sixth on a run-scoring single from Alberico that scored Chris Rabine.
“We came out on fire today, better than our last two games,” said Medina, who doubled, scored two runs and drove in a run. “It feels good to score some runs and get a win.”
To its credit, Glendale showed some fight and knocked in the game’s final run on a double into the right-center gap from Sean Harris that scored Tyler Lousararian and brought the Nitros within 6-3 at the end of the sixth.
Even though Glendale put two runners on against Lancers reliever Nick Brown in the seventh, Brown closed out the Lancers’ win without surrendering any additional runs.
“Hey, that’s a good La Salle team and we’ll take that score. That’s not a bad score and we fought in this game,” Nitros co-Coach Chris Funaro said. “We’re improving little by little and that’s positive.”
Funaro’s squad tap danced out of a bases-loaded, no-out situation in the top of the first when Swett coaxed an infield fly and then a 4-3 line-drive double play.
La Salle finally broke a 15-inning scoreless drought with two runs in the second inning started by a run-scoring double from Martinez, who later came home on a groundout from Garcia.
An inning later, Glendale tallied its first run on a run-producing groundout from Eric Winner.
“I think we’re starting to gel. We’re getting closer and closer,” Winner said. “Hopefully, we’ll start winning.”