When El Dorado High School pitcher Jeff Petredes takes the mound, he usually receives some deference.
It's just his due as last season's Empire League Most Valuable Player, a person who has proven himself capable of limiting opponents to less than one run per game.
On the other hand, even the Petredeses of the baseball world have their off days--especially when they have not pitched a real game in two weeks and especially in the competitive Empire League.
Such was the case Friday at El Dorado when Katella (2-0 in league, 7-2 overall) got 11 hits off Petredes and upset the county's second-ranked team, 6-5.
Petredes, who doubled and singled for two RBIs, looked better at the plate than on the mound, where he got his first loss of the season. His record is 1-1, while the Hawks are 1-1, 8-2.
"It really did surprise me the way we hit him," said Knight Coach Tim McMenamin, who had come to the game under the assumption that his team's hitting "left room for a lot of improvement."
The Knights staged a self-improvement seminar in the first inning when they sent the entire lineup to the plate and produced four hits--more than some teams manage in a whole game against Petredes.
The Knights scored three runs in the two-out outburst. Osmar DeChavez drove in leadoff hitter Bob Gallego with a double, and DeChavez scored on a wild pitch following Dave Lewis' walk and Marc Gerdes' single.
Darren Okuda reloaded the bases by stroking a line drive to left, and Petredes went to a 3-2 count against Mike Burton. The next pitch missed the plate and Lewis walked home.
About the only thing that Katella starter Bob Miles had in common with the intimidating Petredes was the fact that neither had pitched in two weeks. But Petredes' hiatus came on account of rain; Miles hadn't pitched because of a sore arm.
McMenamin's strategy of sending a "junk" pitcher against the hard-hitting Golden Hawks worked out nicely as Miles' offspeed repertoire baffled El Dorado for three innings--the first, second and fourth. They scored twice in the third when Petredes' single to the center-field fence drove in Jim Buck and Steve Gill.
Katella pulled out to a 4-2 lead in the fifth on Todd Lloyd's leadoff homer. Jeff Repoz singled and advanced to third on a sacrifice and a grounder, and scored when Petredes threw a pitch in the dirt for the sixth time in the game.
In the bottom of the fifth, the Knights brought in their ace, Kevin Shaw (4-0), a junior who had thrown a one-hitter and a no-hitter in the past 10 days. But he faced the same dilemma as Petredes--both lineups seemed primed to clobber fastballs.
Gill led off with a double and Bret Boone immediately drove him in with another. Two left-handed hitters, Rob Sporrer and Scott Holcomb, each tagged Shaw for RBI singles in the inning with Holcomb's shot up the middle tying the game at 5-5.
The Golden Hawks found themselves in a promising situation in the sixth when Knight infielders committed two throwing errors, leaving runners on first and second with no outs.
But Gill's attempted sacrifice failed as Shaw threw out Doug Sipple at third. When Boone hit a long fly, Gill mistakenly tagged up and started for second where he was thrown out by Repoz from right-center.
"If you'd told me we could have men at first and second with nobody out and not score a run, I'd have said you were crazy, but that's what happened," El Dorado Coach Steve Gullotti said.
Katella scored the winning run in the top of the seventh when Lloyd led off with a double, advanced on a wild pitch and scored on a fly by Lewis.
The Hawks went down in order in the bottom of the inning.
In other Empire League games:
Kennedy 5, Cypress 3--Robert Wilson hit a three-run double during a four-run first inning for the Fighting Irish (1-1, 3-7) at Brookhurst Park in Anaheim. John May (1-2) pitched a four-hitter and struck out five. Ron Brown was the loser for Cypress (0-2, 6-3).
Loara 1, Pacifica 1 (10 innings)--The Saxons and Mariners each scored in the sixth in a game that was called because of darkness. The game will remain a tie unless it affects the outcome of any playoff positions.