Wilson and Cabrillo took their turn playing a Moore League baseball contest at Bohl Diamond at Blair Field on Friday afternoon. The Bruins stayed aggressive on the base paths and on the mound to win 12-1.
“It’s wonderful to be here,” Wilson coach Andy Hall said of playing at Blair Field for the first time in more than a year. “What a beautiful place this is and we’ve really missed it. It’s a great environment for the fans and for the kids. The city misses the Wednesday and Friday doubleheaders and it’s good that we’ll be able to play Millikan here because that will be a fun night to recapture some of that excitement.”
Wilson (9-12, 5-2) will take on Millikan at Blair Field on May 20 at 8 p.m. and the Bruins are back in the league title race after upsetting Long Beach Poly.
“The win at Poly certainly gave us some confidence,” Hall said. “We’re going in the right direction and I think we have the combinations figured out so we feel good about it.”
Wilson came out pushing the envelope on the base paths and stole more than 10 bases and scored three runs on wild pitches or passed balls. Joe McGrath led off the game with a double, stole third and scored the first run on a wild pitch. The senior said he and his teammates can feel the difference in the dugout after shaking off their slow start.
“We’re starting to put things together so if we get on a roll there’s gonna be no stopping us,” McGrath said. “The energy is just there. We’re playing like the team we’ve been all along but we just haven’t given ourselves a chance… Now we are, so everything is changing.”
The Bruins broke the game open in the second inning with five runs that included an RBI single and second run scored by McGrath. He is the everyday catcher for Wilson, but moved to right field to fill in for the injured John Lanterman. Senior Chase Pavlovsky got the start behind the plate, and Hall said he made sure to start his seniors because it was a game at Blair Field.
“They’re polar opposites,” McGrath said of moving his point of view from behind the plate to right field. “I had a good time. It’s kind of casual because it’s so much more slow paced than catching.”
Senior Tommy O’Toole got the start and pitched four innings while scattering four hits and an unearned run. He had played at Blair Field as a sophomore but had never taken the mound at the historic park.
“It was definitely a cool experience,” O’Toole said. “The backstop is huge. You feel like you’re in an exquisite stadium.”
O’Toole is also playing basketball during the season and said it takes attention to detail, and leniency from his coaches, to pull that off.
“You have to be on top of everything,” O’Toole said. “You have a lot of practice where you have to leave early. It’s hard on the body and I’m pretty beat up but I love it. I think it definitely makes me feel like a better athlete.”
Cabrillo (1-11, 1-6) scored in the fourth inning when junior captain Tyler Harvey singled off the third base bag to score Carlos Monreal after he led off with a single. Harvey also came out of the bullpen to pitch well and post two scoreless innings while striking out three.
“Our record isn’t what we want it to be this year but you couldn’t tell with his attitude,” Cabrillo coach Phillip Berman said of Harvey. “That’s the kind of guy you want to build a program around. I can’t say enough about him. He’s just playing his heart out. No matter what the score is he’s throwing strikes and hitting line drives. I’m proud of him.”
Berman is a Jordan High alum who also played at Blair Field, and his high school coach was Wilson’s current assistant coach Marc Prager.
“It was really cool,” Berman said. “Last minute to get a Blair game and the kids were excited… It’s a nice treat during a crazy season, to say the least.”
The Jaguars showed incredible fight and effort no matter the score, which is exactly how Berman played when he was at Jordan.
“We just had a couple breakdowns but I’m proud of our guys,” Berman said. “We played hard and we’re not putting our heads down. We’re just battling.”
Cabrillo hosts Lakewood on Wednesday, and Wilson travels to Lakewood next Friday. Both games are scheduled to start at 3:15 p.m.