Lancers prevail in pitchers’ duel
By: GLENN REEVES Bay Area News Group
Posted March 31
Valley Christian-San Jose went into Friday’s West Catholic Athletic League showdown with a 1.22 team ERA. Host Saint Francis had an ERA of 1.51.
So the expectation in Mountain View was for a pitcher’s duel, and that’s what took place. Saint Francis’ Trevor Bettencourt and Valley Christian’s Theron Kay matched zeros until the bottom of the eighth inning, when Saint Francis scored on two errors for a 1-0 victory.
Saint Francis (14-0-1, 6-0-1) concluded the first half of WCAL play in first place. Valley Christian (12-2, 5-1) plays Saturday at Serra-San Mateo.
Bettencourt pitched a six-hit shutout with three walks and 10 strikeouts.
Kay, a sophomore righthander, pitched a two-hitter with six strikeouts and no walks, but took the loss. “ It was really intense,” Bettencourt said. “ Their guy was pitching great. I had to compete as well.”
Blake Billinger reached on a two base error to lead off the bottom of the eighth before Valley Christian first baseman Bryant Park threw the lead runner out at third on a sacrifice attempt. But when pinch hitter Timothy Susnara hit a grounder to third, the throw to first sailed high and wide, going down the rightfield line and allowing Champi Lucca to score from first.
“ We had chances, and nobody stepped up to get a hit,” Valley Christian coach John Diatte said. “ We needed a play at the end of the game and didn’t make it.”
Kay, in addition to pitching so brilliantly, had three singles in three a tbats. Leadoff hitter Bryson Brigman also had two hits.
Bettencourt allowed five runners over the first three innings but pitched out of trouble. Then he got into a groove. Nine of his 10 strikeouts came over the final five innings.“ I get stronger as the game goes on,” Bettencourt said. “ I get more comfortable, get a sweat going.”
High schools are using modified aluminum bats for the first time, and scoring is way down.
Kay had a one hit shutout with two out in the seventh when Michael Strem hit a 3-2 pitch off the top of the wall in left center for a double.“ Last year that would’ve been out,” Saint Francis coach Mike Oakland said. “ This year the ball is not going anywhere.”