HomeBlocksFront-GridBaseball: St. Francis Suffers Late Heartbreak in CIF Title Game

Baseball: St. Francis Suffers Late Heartbreak in CIF Title Game

A historic season came to a heartbreaking end for the St. Francis High School varsity baseball team.
The Golden Knights held a one-run lead going to the seventh inning, but ultimately suffered a heartbreaking 2-1 loss to Camarillo in the CIF Southern Section Division IV championship game at Lake Elsinore Diamond Stadium on May 18.
“It was a really good game,” St. Francis coach Shaun Kort said. “The seventh inning obviously didn’t go our way, but I was super proud of how we came out. I’m just so proud of our guys. It didn’t end the way that we wanted it to but it’s nice to feel all the emotions. We felt heartbreak today and we were on top of the world after the semifinals, so I think that’s why you play high school sports.”
SFHS (19-15 overall) finished the campaign above .500 for the first time since 2009 while also securing its first CIF postseason victories since 2006.
“It feels horrible right now, but I’m sure in a day or two, I’ll be able to look back and really reflect on how great of a season this was,” Kort said. “Resilient is a perfect word to describe what we’ve been through this year. We had a lot of one and two-run wins and made a lot of really big plays with our backs against the wall. I’m super proud of our seniors and really excited about the group that is going to return next year.”
The Golden Knights overcame enormous odds as an at-large bid to reach the title game. SFHS faced another grueling challenge against Camarillo’s left-handed starting pitcher Boston Bateman, who is committed to Louisiana State University.
“I don’t think anyone really gave us a chance to score off Bateman and we did that early,” Kort said. “I think we had to sell out for the fastball and limit strikeouts, which got away from us a little bit at times but I thought we battled. I wanted to see if the guys looked scared in the box and they didn’t look scared to me. They looked like they were competing their butt off.”
Bateman touched 94 mph on his fastball and hovered in the high 70s with his breaking pitches, resulting in five no-hit innings against the Golden Knights. However, SFHS was the first to break the scoreless tie when junior Dominik Hidalgo drew a leadoff walk in the bottom of the third inning. Junior Samuel Rodriquez executed a sacrifice bunt, advancing Hidalgo into scoring position with one out.
Kort opted to pinch run freshman Landon Pratt, a junior varsity call-up, for Hidalgo, and he immediately advanced to third on a wild pitch. Junior Dane Shepard picked up St. Francis’ only RBI of the afternoon on a sacrifice fly for a 1-0 lead that held until the seventh inning.
“Honestly, it just felt amazing being out here with my teammates and coaches,” Pratt said. “It’s just really beautiful and I’m really grateful for this opportunity to even play at this sports complex.”
St. Francis junior Noah Aguilar-Tanphanich relieved senior starting pitcher Aaron Hernandez in the top of the third inning after the latter gave up a leadoff double to Camarillo’s No. 3 batter. Aguilar-Tanphanich promptly struck out the first two batters he faced before inducing an inning-ending groundout to Hidalgo at second base, stranding the go-ahead run at third base and preserving a scoreless tie.
Aguilar-Tanphanich was masterful across more than four innings of relief despite being stuck with the loss. He pitched four perfect innings with four strikeouts before running into trouble in the top of the seventh.
Hernandez opened the game with two scoreless innings, allowing three hits and two walks with a pair of strikeouts on 54 pitches (29 strikes). Senior John Calmette recorded SFHS’ only base hit of the afternoon in the bottom of the sixth inning, while senior Brody Ruyle walked once. Sophomore Aiden Mahoney pitched one inning of relief, allowing two inherited runners to score on two hits and one walk with one strikeout.
The Golden Knights have opted into competing in the CIF Regional Baseball Championships scheduled to begin Tuesday, May 28, at 4 p.m. A host site and opponent are still set to be determined as of the Outlook Valley Sun’s publication deadline.

The St Francis High School varsity baseball team includes Noah Aguilar Tanphanich listed alphabetically Rory Alarian Vercelli John Calmette Callum Clark Holden Deitch Lucas Favretto Aaron Hernandez Dominic Hidalgo Kal El Holguin Jayden Kim Nathan Kim Nick Kriebs Jordan Lewallen Aiden Mahoney John Martin Bobby Milton James Mishler Aiden Nicolas Jackson Pratt Landon Pure Kalani Quiroz Kush Reddy Sam Rodriguez Brody Ruyle Anthony Santana Dane Shepard Caysen Sullivan and Jordan Viramontes The coaching staff includes Jeff Durfee Michael Jordt Shaun Kort Travis Sailor and Eric Whittlesey

First published in the May 23 print issue of the Outlook Valley Sun.


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