Parker is Crowned King of Division III
By Andrew Smith
Linda Vista (6/6/2014) – All season long Francis Parker head coach DAVID GLASSEY preached to his team that defense wins championships. The one pitcher he credited that fully bought into that notion was southpaw GRANT SHIVES and as Friday’s starter in the San Diego Section CIF Division III championship game at USD’s Fowler Park that claim finally came full-circle as the Lancers (23-9) downed Mt. Carmel (21-15) 6-4 in 10 innings.
“I knew today was going to be a battle and runs were going to be at a premium,” Shives admitted after. “But I was mentally prepared for this game because I knew Mt. Carmel was a good team, so I was ready for a fight.”
Freshman shortstop NICK ALLEN single to lead off the game and came around to score on a HAYDEN HASTINGS ground out for an early 1-0 lead.
The Sun Devils countered in the second with three straight singles to start the frame. A couple of sacrifice flies and an error gave them a 3-1 advantage that they would hold throughout much of the game.
“Once I got through that second inning I was able to settle down,” added Shives. “It was my job to hold them at that point and I knew we’d eventually score some more runs.”
With two outs in the fifth Allen roped his second single of the day to left field. JONAH DAVIS and NATE GLASSER were both plunked to load the bases and then Hastings hit an infield single that was compounded with an error to tie the game at 3-3.
However, Mt. Carmel starter Daniel Vasquez retired the next 13 batters he faced as the game went deep into extra innings. Shives matched him out for out setting down 12 in a row himself.
In the 10th inning Parker right fielder AUSTIN ROGERS led off with a single. Allen sacrificed him to second and a ground out got him to third with two outs. Glasser walked and then Hastings hit a slow dribbler to third that Mt. Carmel third baseman Jack Melton was unable to make a throw on as the Lancers took a 4-3 lead.
“I was running as fast as I could to beat that one out,” said Hastings who finished the day 2-for-5 with 3 RBI. “I have to give all the credit to the guys ahead of me though to put me in that situation to be the hero and make a play for my team.”
JONATHAN VIZCAINO followed that by smashing a triple to right field to plate two more to giving Parker a 6-3 advantage.
“I was struggling at the plate today, but my coaches told me the pitcher was going to start me with off-speed stuff first pitch and then come back with a fastball,” claimed Vizcaino. “He left one up and out over the plate so I just went with the pitch and drove it into the opposite field.”
Vizcaino then came in in relief of Shives to close the door for the Lancers, but it didn’t come easy…
Mt. Carmel started the inning with a single and a run-scoring double to bring the tying run to the plate. Two outs late a walk brought the game-winning run to the plate, but Vizcaino got a grounder to third to seal the deal and begin the celebration for the Lancers’ first CIF title since 2007.
“It was really nerve-racking in that last inning especially when they had two men on,” Vizcaino stated. “Coach came out and told me to settle down and I was lucky enough to get that final out after that.”
Shives earned the victory to finish the season with a 9-1 mark allowing only two earned runs over nine innings. Allen and Rogers finished with two hits each and JAKE WIEGAND had a double.
“I don’t think any words can describe this feeling I have right now,” a choked up Allen said after. “I still have four more years to go so I hopefully this won’t be my last ring.”
Hopefully the freshman shortstop phenom’s math is just a little off and he doesn’t flunk a grade, which would only give him three more years of high school, but who’s counting?
“It was our kind of game today,” Parker’s skipper Glassey said afterward. “We never make it easy on ourselves, but there’s also no quit in this group of kids and this was a special season.”