WATSONVILLE — Monte Vista Christian senior pinch runner Daniel Brierley showcased the blazing speed that made him a dangerous force on the football field in the fall by stealing second and beating out a throw at home plate to score a run.
His hustle in the sixth inning sparked the Mustangs in the final moments of Wednesday’s 5-2 Pacific Coast Athletic League Gabilan division loss to Monterey.
The rest of the day M.V.C. was “flat,” according to senior catcher Dominic Felice.
“We didn’t have the energy that we usually do,” Felice said. “We didn’t start off the way we should have.”
And the Mustangs, who average a little more than six runs per game, didn’t have the pop in their bats they usually do either.
Senior outfielder Harrison Zischke’s double in the fifth inning was one of only two hits M.V.C. was able to manage.
Brierley’s run off Felice’s sacrifice fly in the bottom of the sixth ended the shutout, and junior shortstop Matt Woods walked home the team’s second score in the seventh.
The Mustangs brought the winning run to the plate, but Monterey was able to hang on to win the three-game season series, which will conclude on May 7.
The loss dropped M.V.C. to 10-7 overall and 7-6 in league action.
It will host Palma today at 4 p.m.
“You never like losing a series but it’s onward and upward,” said M.V.C. coach Don Keathley. “We’re still over .500 in league. We’re still over .500 overall. We have a chance to sweep Palma for the first time since I’ve been here…There’s some stuff that we need to talk about, mostly about energy. We can’t wait until someone inspires us. We have to be the guy that wants to get it done.”
Junior right-handed pitcher Aidan Lee got the start, but struggled with his location for most of his four-inning outing. He allowed six hits, including a monster home run to junior Joe Grammatico, and four earned runs.
Monterey’s junior lefty Steve Bull earned the win after six innings of work. He stumped the Mustangs for most of the day, allowing only two hits and a walk.
“We didn’t really come prepared to see him,” Woods said. “We just kind of came in like whatever — maybe a little overconfident, thinking we could hit whoever. Obviously, we couldn’t.”
Added Keathley: “That’s been our kryptonite, lefty with a little movement and a good changeup.”
Senior Nate Vierra relieved Bull in the seventh. He notched two outs over his first three batters, but walked the next two Mustangs to load the bases.
Junior Justin Deal replaced Vierra and was able to preserve the win after walking in a run.
“We got in a little bit of rhythm — we got a little bit of a spark running around the bases — but other than that we didn’t have any energy going,” Woods said.
Grammatico finished 3-for-4 with three RBI for Monterey (11-8, 11-3).