ROXBURY– Even though Madison Park’s Santos Chalas allowed O’Bryant to score five runs yesterday afternoon on the field behind the neighboring schools both squads call home, the junior pitcher wasn’t worried about hearing too much trash talk from the school next door on Monday morning.
“Not really, they are on their side,” said Chalas, who struck out six batters and hit a home run in the 5-3 loss this afternoon. “They are gonna be like ‘See we beat you’ and I’m gonna be like ‘I hit a shot off you.’”
The win was the first time O’Bryant (8-5 overall, 2-1 in the division) beat the Cardinals in three years.
Junior third baseman Mike Mejia hit an RBI triple in the fourth inning to help his team take a 5-2 edge.
“He had a good at bat,” OB coach Matt Grogan. “He got that outside fastball. That’s something he likes to do is hit the other way.”
O’Bryant’s defense was clicking in the fourth inning as well. Junior pitcher Manny Garcia hit a rope to Mejia at third. Mejia made a stabbing catch and rifled the ball to first base to pick off junior Frank Palanco for an inning-closing double play.
“After that play we stopped them from hitting,” Mejia said. “We picked up our offense after that.”
Madison Park showed some resolve in the final inning by getting one run back. Garcia opened the inning by reaching first base on an error. He also came home on an error after senior shortstop William Miranda grounded to shortstop. The ball was overthrown at third, scoring Garcia.
Two men remained on base for Madison. But fortunately for the Tigers, junior pitcher Stanley Pena, who finished the game with eight strikeouts, was able to strikeout out two of the final four batters to close out the game.
Madison Park coach Mike Viggiano was pleased with the seventh-inning rally and Chalas’ towering home run over the high left field fence that gave his team a 2-1 lead in the second inning. But Viggiano said the two-time defending city champions (4-9, 3-3) will have to run the table to make the city tournament this year and the state tournament is probably out of the question.
“We aren’t the smartest team this year,” he said. “We have a lot of skill and a lot of talent but we haven’t played heads up ball and that’s what hurt us in most of the losses we’ve had. We’ve gotten spanked a couple of times but were in most games. Mental errors killed us.
“Although we have a skilled team, if we don’t have the furniture in the attic it’s not gonna do us much good.”
At least Madison won’t have to take too much heat from their neighbors at O’Bryant on Monday morning. At one point in the game Chalas even waltzed through the Tigers’ dugout after getting picked off at first base.
“They are my friends,” Chalas said.