The season ended unceremoniously for St. Anthony baseball on Tuesday in the second round of the CIF Southern Section Division 5 playoffs. The Saints couldn’t take advantage of early chances to score and Crean Lutheran used a pair of big innings in a 15-0 win in Irvine.
“They’re a really good team and took advantage of the mistakes we made,” St. Anthony coach Kris Jondle said. “They’re going to be tough for someone to beat down the road.”
St. Anthony (19-7) stranded 12 runners on base but none of the Saints had multiple hits. Crean Lutheran (23-10) mashed 13 hits and batted around in the third and sixth innings. They scored eight runs in the third and seven more in the sixth.
St. Anthony won its second Santa Fe League title in the last four seasons, but graduates a large group of accomplished seniors. The Saints started the year with only a pair of returning starters so Jondle is left wondering what could’ve been in a normal year.
“This group needed a summer to play together,” Jondle said. “We were really sketchy defensively early in the season against not very good teams. But we improved as the season went on and that’s good to see.”
In the top of the first inning, St. Anthony had a runner on with no outs when Crean Lutheran error put two runners on. However the Saints tried to take the extra bases on the errant throw and Jason Porter was thrown out at third base. St. Anthony would also have a runner thrown out at third in the fourth inning after a leadoff hit.
Crean Lutheran scored its first run on a wild pitch in the third inning, and St. Anthony starting pitcher Chris Jones injured his throwing hand on the play trying to make the tag at home. After a short delay to stop his finger from bleeding, the next three Crean Lutheran batters reached base to end his day. Garrett Heller, Ethan Shepherd and Sean Lovett all came out of the bullpen for St. Anthony. Shepherd threw scoreless fourth and fifth innings before Crean Lutheran used a string of hits to score seven in the sixth inning.
Jondle said he hopes his young players can learn from this postseason experience.
“They’re going to have to step up and be leaders next year,” he said. “We lose a lot of offense so we’re going to have to do other things. Once we get to these types of games where we’ve got to play better.”