Baseball St. Anthony Wilson

CIF Baseball: Sixth Inning Carries Wilson Past St. Anthony

The562’s high school baseball and softball coverage for the 2022 season is sponsored by LBUSD Board of Education Member Megan Kerr

The562’s coverage of Long Beach Wilson Athletics is sponsored by Joel Bitonio, Class of 2009

The first five innings of the CIF Southern Section Division 4 opener between Wilson and St. Anthony on Thursday at Clark Field was incredibly even.

Both teams had quality aces on the mound and they both got great defense behind them. Both teams also hit solo home runs, and they both pushed another run across with some small ball.

However, Wilson exploded for six runs in the sixth inning on its way to an 8-3 win over the Saints.

“We expected to win but they’re a good club and they didn’t have any fear of the Wilson Bruins and they showed that quite a bit,” Wilson coach Andy Hall said. “It was nerve wracking at times.”

Wilson starting pitcher Charlie Royle has been sick all week but worked hard to record 12 strikeouts in six innings. He said he woke up with a 103 degree fever yesterday, but tested negative for COVID and the flu.

“I had to battle and push through a little bit,” Royle said. “I just tried to keep doing what I’ve been doing all season. Obviously it wasn’t my best outing but I just kind of tried to do whatever I could do to win.”

St. Anthony starting pitcher Sean Lovett only needed 33 pitches to get through the first three innings against the Bruins. He got some help from his defense as a double play ended the second inning. Lovett said he was extra motivated to go against a big school from Long Beach.

“These guys are good hitters and I just tried to keep them off balance as much as I could,” Lovett said. “I’m proud of the way we played. We got three off the best pitcher in Long Beach. I really had the boys behind me.”


Wilson took a 1-0 lead in the fourth inning when center fielder Xander McLaurin hit a solo home run to right field.

St. Anthony tied the game in the bottom of the fourth when Luis Gil also hit a solo shot to the short porch in right field. The Saints then took a 2-1 lead when Jake Searles reached on an error and came around to score on Ryan Kiedrowski’s two-out RBI single.

“I liked the way we battled at the plate,” St. Anthony coach Kris Jondle said. “We competed pretty well. We’re fairly young with only three seniors in the lineup. I think this was a really good experience to face a guy like (Royle) so that’s a strong foundation going forward.”

Wilson tied the game 2-2 in the fifth inning. Shortstop Taylor Kirk led off with a single and took second on an error. He was bunted over by Jake Fox, and then scored on the sacrifice fly from Josh Jacobsen.

The Bruins broke the game open in the sixth inning as the first six batters that came to the plate came around to score. Wilson third baseman Aaron Mingo had the big hit of the inning with a 2 RBI double to left field. Mingo finished with three hits. Kirk also had an RBI and a run scored in the sixth.

St. Anthony added a run in the bottom of the sixth, but Jack Eckenrode came out of the bullpen to pitch a perfect seventh inning to secure the victory.

This local matchup meant a little more to Wilson coach Andy Hall, who is a St. Anthony alum and also coached the Saints. He said he showed up early on Thursday to walk the familiar field, see the locker rooms and check out the recent construction.

“It’s been a very surreal couple of days,” Hall said. “I brought the kids down the line for a little history lesson. I told them about how my dad and Tom Walsh were kind of the first two guys to decide we needed a baseball field out here. My senior year in high school they put this field here. It’s a little additional pressure.”

Wilson advances to the second round at Loyola. The Cubs scored five runs with two outs in the seventh inning of their first-round game to beat San Marcos 5-4 on the road.

VIDEO: Wilson vs. St. Anthony, CIF Baseball
PHOTOS: Wilson vs. St. Anthony, CIF Baseball
JJ Fiddler
JJ Fiddler is an award-winning sportswriter and videographer who has been covering Southern California sports for multiple newspapers and websites since 2004. After attending Long Beach State and creating the first full sports page at the Union Weekly Newspaper, he has been exclusively covering Long Beach prep sports since 2007.