By Ed PiperThe Bishop’s School Knights’ Tripp Twyman said it all when he commented on the location of the meet against Santa Fe Christian School, April 4: “Is it fun to play at Petco Park? Oh, yeah.”
The Bishop’s senior also took home a treasured memory of the major league ballpark and home of the San Diego Padres — his own fabulous throw from centerfield to nail a Santa Fe Christian runner at the plate on a bang-bang play in the fifth inning.
The Knights were prepared to enjoy the moment, yet focused on their Coastal South League opener. But it just wasn’t the Knights’ afternoon, as Eagles right-hander Chase Bushor fashioned a no-hit game against the best they could send up to the plate.
Bishop’s Coach Joey Centanni told his troops before they batted in the top of the third inning, “(Bushor’s) got rhythm, so call a timeout, go up there with a shoe untied (to slow him down).” But the 6-foot Bushor rightly mixed fastballs and curveballs to retire the Knights in the second, third, fourth and fifth innings after giving up a walk to Jamie Abrams in the first inning to carry a near-perfect game into the bottom of the sixth inning.
The only other Bishop’s runners that made it to base were James Nelson, who walked on a full count to lead off the sixth, and Bulla Graft soon after. Graft got on base because Bushor, gloving his ground ball back to the box, tried to catch the runner at second. The throw was late, so Graft’s tapper was a fielder’s choice.
There wasn’t really a close call in the Knights’ attempts to get a hit off Bushor, who struck out 13 batters. For the season, Bushor has 36 strikeouts in 21 innings of play.
Sophomore pitcher Robby Schreiber started for Bishop’s (0-1 in league, 7-4 overall), lasting four innings and giving up three runs on eight hits. He was effective in the second, when he retired three of four batters, and the fourth, when Santa Fe Christian had two runners on base with no outs and the 3-4-5 hitters coming up. The right-hander struck out Bushor, forced Cole Weaver to foul out to Ryan Feng in left field, and then made Dillon Paulson fly out to Feng. Schreiber threw 80 pitches, using a lot of curveballs.
Graft, normally an infielder, pitched two-and-two-thirds innings of relief, giving up six hits and four runs. Sophomore Fletcher Lanuti, after making a couple of outs playing second base, came in the seventh with two runners on,
and got Bushor to pop out to first baseman Cyrus Nolan to end the inning for an experience to remember.
Bishop’s Head of School Aimeclaire Roche said she fully enjoyed her role in throwing out the first pitch from the Petco mound. In her fifth year as principal, she spent the entire game in the dugout with the team.
Asked if she is a power pitcher or a control pitcher, Roche replied with a laugh, “Control.” Athletic director Joel Allen coached her as she warmed up on the manicured outfield grass before her one opportunity.
Roche put the Petco experience in perspective for the Bishop’s student-athletes, reminding them of whom they were playing for, “It’s historic, participating in a year in which we’ve celebrated Jerry Coleman (San Diego Padres announcer who passed away Jan. 5). He spoke to the student body last year. These players knew him.” Coleman’s daughter is a Bishop’s alumna and his widow served as chairman of the board.
Leading up to the game, Centanni commented on the Knights’ solid play through the 10 pre-league games: “We are in every game and our guys battle. We have great team chemistry and that makes it much more enjoyable when we take the field.”