Mater Dei High School had almost as many errors (three) as it had hits (four) Wednesday but was still able to defeat Servite, 6-3, in an Angelus League game at Mater Dei.
What the Monarchs lacked in offensive punch and defensive execution, they made up for in timing and caught the third-ranked Friars on an off-day.
Servite (11-3, 19-5) remained in a first-place tie with Bishop Amat, which lost to St. Paul Wednesday. The Monarchs (10-4, 14-6) are a game back and can clinch the league's No. 2 playoff berth by defeating the Friars Friday.
Jim Zaccari had an RBI single to score Larry Sutton, who had tripled, and Jim Austin added a three-run triple in the third inning Wednesday. Sutton also had an RBI double in the sixth, but that was the extent of the Mater Dei offense. The Monarchs scored in the fourth on Zaccari's sacrifice fly.
Sophomore right-hander Bill Brockschmidt threw a four-hitter and struck out four, but Servite Coach Mike McNary thought his hitters made the Mater Dei pitcher seem even better.
"He did an outstanding job but it was combined with our worst performance at the plate this year," McNary said. "I don't know why we're not hitting. We're going to sit down and talk about it for about five hours tonight. We took the good pitches and swung at the bad ones."
Despite its feeble offense, Servite had a chance to tie the score in the seventh. Mike Robertson's two-out, RBI single made it 6-3, and Chris Ulmer was hit by a pitch to put runners on first and second.
The Friars had 6-foot 4-inch, 230-pound designated hitter Mike Petko at the plate and the left-field fence a mere 300 feet away.
"Every time I talk to Petko, I tell him to just worry about getting a base hit or a line drive," McNary said. "This time, I told him to jack one out."
He got a line drive, instead. Petko smashed a ball to right fielder Jim Austin, who made the catch to end the game.
"That's a sophomore for you, making the game exciting," Monarch Coach Bob Ickes said of his pitcher.
Ickes' defense made the game exciting for the Friars early on. Monarch second baseman Mike Balsamo made two throwing errors, which helped Servite score unearned runs in the first and third innings. Melvin, the third baseman, also committed a throwing error in the fourth.
But while the infield was having its problems, Austin made the defensive play of the game in the second, making a long run and then diving to his right to rob Roschman of a double in right-center field.
In the Orange League:
Brea-Olinda 5, Western 4--The Wildcats (9-5, 10-11) took a 5-0 lead and hung on to clinch their first playoff berth in five seasons. Mike Oziminski hit a two-run home run in the first and Matt Gunn had a two-run double in the fourth.
Valencia 6, Anaheim 5--Anthony Davis singled in the winning run for the Tigers, who clinched first place at Valencia. The Tigers (10-4, 14-8) trailed, 5-4, in the seventh but tied the score when Mike Edwards tripled and scored on a pass ball. Davis singled home Edwards for the victory. Anaheim is 2-12, 4-20.
Magnolia 3, Savanna 2 (11 innings)--The Sentinels (6-7-1, 9-11-1) scored the winning run on an error at Savanna. Jody Clark hit a home run in the 10th to give Magnolia a 2-1 lead, but Jason Paulus tripled in the trying run in the bottom of the inning. Savanna fell to third place but has already clinched a playoff berth.