Baseball: Brandon Mallder comes through in clutch for St Laurence
Updated: May 2, 2012 7:54PM
The scenario suggested that a bunt was in order.
Tie at 1-1, runner on first, no outs, bottom of the seventh inning.
Even Brandon Mallder figured St. Laurence coach Pete Lotus was going to flash him the bunt sign.
Lotus, however, had other ideas.
“Without a doubt, I was thinking about having Brandon bunt,” Loyus said. “But he’s a better hitter than he is bunter and he put good bat on the ball to drive in our first run of the game.”
Mallder made Lotus look like a genius, lining the first pitch from St. Rita reliever Jake Shepski into the right-center field gap, scoring Joel Rotkvich for a 2-1 St. Laurence victory.
The win put the No. 1 Vikings (24-2-1, 10-1) one step closer to their goal of winning the Catholic League Blue. St. Rita fell to 16-8, 7-4.
“It was a huge win,” Lotus said. “Especially knowing what’s going on tomorrow.”
Lotus was referring to today’s game between St. Rita and St. Laurence, which was suspended on Tuesday with the Mustangs ahead 2-0 in the third inning. The game will pick up with No. 9 St. Rita having runners on first and second base with one out.
“It was big to pick up this win today,” Mallder said. “But there’s no doubt in my mind that we can erase that lead and win the game.”
Mallder provided all of the offense for the Vikings on Wednesday. His double to right-center scored Nick Altobella, who had singled, for a 1-0 lead. Rotkvich, who made a great over-the-shoulder catch at third base, also tried to score on the double but was called out on a bang-bang play at the plate.
St. Rita tied the score in the sixth inning. St. Laurence starter Zack Lewis had allowed just one hit and struck out five through the first five innings. A lead-off double by Shepski, however, forced Lotus to call on sophomore Brad Wood.
Chad Prieto’s sacrifice fly scored Shepski and tied the game 1-1.
Wood picked up the win, allowing just one hit and striking out two over two winnings.
St. Rita sophomore Mike Costanzo went 5 1/3 innings and allowed one run, three hits, one walk and struck out two. He was the benefactor of some great defense by outfielders Anthony Ray and Pete Cozzie, who each made diving catches with runners on that prevented St. Laurence from scoring.