With just under 3,000 fans watching at Petco Park April 8, 2014 in the inaugural game of the Coastal South League season, La Jolla Country Day School coach John Edman had a fine line to walk in the bottom of the fifth inning with his Torreys down 2-1 — stay with his lefty ace, Alfonso Rivas, who had given up only one earned run to rival Parker School, or bring in righty freshman Brennan Rubin against the right-handed hitter Nate Glasser, who already had an RBI hit off Rivas.
The Torrey coach opted for the reliever, Rubin, but Glasser promptly hit his first offering into left to send the Parker Lancers up, 3-1. Parker held on to win, 3-2, despite Torrey Dylan Robertson’s RBI single in the sixth.
Robertson, a junior playing third base, played a key role in Country Day’s offense. He not only drove in the Torreys’ second run in the sixth, but he also scored their initial run the inning before.
It was a low-scoring pitchers’ duel all the way. The smooth-working Rivas, though feeling a twinge on his left side, struck out five and walked only one. He fielded his position flawlessly, too, gloving a come-backer by the lead hitter in the fourth inning and calmly throwing him out.
“He’s a ridiculous player,” said pitching coach Dan Padget, when asked about Rivas’ fielding. “He does everything well.” The twinge lowered the speed on his fastball from the 87-mph range to about 82. But Parker hitters weren’t celebrating. They managed six hits in Rivas’ four-and-two-thirds innings of work. Rivas’ ERA sits at a paltry 0.48. The earned run he gave up against Parker is his first one this season.
Parker starter Jake Wiegand limited Country Day to five hits in his five innings of work.
Edman’s squad came down the tunnel onto the playing field visibly and audibly excited before the game. Team members were chattering, commenting on the superb quality of the Petco playing surface, and interacting with friends in the stands right behind the visitors’ dugout on the third base side.
The entire team was lined along the rail at the top of the dugout in the first inning, with the atmosphere charged and electric. Keaton Weisz, the Torreys’ leadoff hitter and centerfielder, took Wiegand’s opening pitch low for a ball, and the game was on.
After Weisz flied out to Jonah Davis in centerfield, Chris Bee was walked, then thrown out trying to steal second by Lancer catcher Haydan Hastings. The Torreys were going to be aggressive from the start.
Rivas, the third-slot hitter, walked, as did Brandon Wachs, with Wiegand struggling starting the game. But LJCD was unable to move the runners around.
A what-if came in Country Day catcher Travis Wilkie’s decision to throw to second on a steal on a first-and-third situation in the fifth. The Parker runner on third, Joseph Pasquill, was able to come home on the play. That put the Lancers ahead 2-1.