When The Bishop’s School fell behind early in its Coastal League baseball opener against La Jolla Country Day on April 15, the Knights didn’t panic.
Instead, they relied on a standout relief pitching and a comeback in the middle innings to secure a key 7-6 victory over their intra-city rivals.
Left-hander Anders Sutherland worked three shutout innings to put the clamps on a powerful Country Day offense. The Knights tied the game with a three-run fifth inning, and then went ahead when they manufactured a run in the sixth.
All the while, they held off Country Day rallies that saw the host Torreys put two runners in scoring position in the sixth and another in the seventh.
“Guys battled. They worked really hard and didn’t give up,” Bishop’s Coach Al Gomez said. “We had some key players really step it up.”
Bishop’s scored early, though Country Day quickly regained the lead and held it until the fifth inning.
The Knights got an RBI ground ball from Brendan Walsh and a run-scoring single off the bat of Spencer Beers-Mulroy in the top of the first inning.
Country Day answered with a three-run inning, with RBI hits coming from Nima Eftekhary and Greg Wisenberg and another run scoring on Jonas Krant’s sacrifice fly to shallow right field.
Bishop’s tacked on a run in the third when Beers-Mulroy delivered another RBI single, this one with two outs, but Country Day cushioned its lead by plating two in the bottom half of the frame.
Sean Huffman opened the inning with a single and scored on Krant’s double. Krant was put out at third on an outfield assist, but singles from Wisenberg, Kyle Reese and Jeff Fronek brought home another run.
Country Day didn’t score again, as Bishop’s starter Antonio Perez faced just three batters in the fourth - with help from a double play that erased a leadoff single and first baseman Beers-Mulroy’s diving stab of a Huffman bouncer that appeared ticketed for extra bases - and Sutherland shut the door by working three scoreless innings of relief.
He gave the Knights a big lift when he shut down the side in order in the fifth after his teammates had tied the game with three runs in the top of the inning.
“Antonio didn’t have his best stuff, but Anders came in and did a great job,” Gomez said. “He threw strikes and got it done. He was really pumped to get in and close it out, especially against our rival school.”
During the fifth, Bishop’s scored their three runs with the benefit of just two hits. They took advantage of an infield error to plate three unearned runs in a frame that also included a walk and a sacrifice fly.
Andew Fowler led off with a chopper to the left side that was mishandled by the Country Day infield. Brendan Walsh followed with a double, and after Beers-Mulroy walked to load the bases, Perez plated a run with a deep fly out to right field.
Tommy Wornham’s two-out double to left then scored Walsh and Beers-Mulroy to tie the game at 6.
In the sixth, Jay Griffin opened with a bloop single to right, was sacrificed to second by Nick Cox and went to third on an errant throw by Wisenberg, the Country Day pitcher. He scored on Walsh’s infield single, a slow roller to the left side that stalled on the infield grass enough for Walsh to beat out the throw.
Walsh ended the day 2-for-3 with a double and two RBIs. Beer-Mulroy went 2-for-4 with three runs driven in, and Tommy Wornham drove in two runs in a 2-for-4 day.
“Spencer had a great game,” Gomez said. “He did it on both sides. He got some key knocks and made some key defensive plays to keep us in the game. Tommy’s really starting to come along. He’s a freshman and is starting to show some maturity and had some really good at-bats in which he was working the counts today.”
For Country Day, Wisenberg went 3-for-4 with a double and two RBIs and pitched six innings in which he allowed seven runs - four earned - on 10 hits and two walks. Krant went 1-for-2 with a walk and a sacrifice fly and drove in two runs. Leadoff man Cody Smith had two hits and an RBI in four trips to the plate.
“We really came out swinging early in the game,” Torreys Coach John Edman said. “We talk about staying aggressive and using every pitch all game long. There was certainly the effort, but we just got cold late in the game.”
Despite the loss, Edman was impressed with the performance of Wisenberg, the Torreys freshman pitcher.
“He threw a great game, and the thing I liked best was that Greg competed just the same whether things were going well or they weren’t. He was outstanding.”