Minor miscues turned out to be major for the Fenwick baseball team last week, as the Friars struggled to gain some ground in the Catholic North League.
Fenwick stranded 12 runners in a 6-5 loss to St. Rita and a mental mishap led to a doubleheader split with Loyola Academy on Saturday. The Friars fell in the opener 4-3, but won the nightcap 3-2. In between the loss to St. Rita and the split with Loyola, Fenwick shutout De La Salle 7-0 and pounded out a 16-2 win over St. Francis de Sales in five innings.
The Friars lost the first game of the twinbill with Loyola when Rambler shortstop Brandon Daker stole home when Friars' pitcher Mike Giovenco and catcher Vince Dorsey met on the mound following a strikeout in the top of the seventh. Both Giovenco and Dorsey failed to call timeout to the umpires. Daker broke for the plate and scored easily.
"In all my years of playing baseball and coaching for 25 years I never saw something like that," said Fenwick head coach Dave Hogan. "Give the Loyola team credit; they were alert."
Loyola took a 2-0 lead when Fenwick's Jim Murphy cut the lead in half with his fifth homer of the season, a solo shot over the right field fence.
The Friars tied the score at 2-2 in the fifth when Loyola's third baseman Pat Sweeney booted a Jack Horrigan grounder.
In the sixth, Rambler pitcher Tim Harvey lost his control and walked the bases loaded. Harvey was replaced by Tim Sullivan, who almost wiggled free of the jam but did allow a sacrifice fly by Nick Marino to put Fenwick ahead 3-2 entering the top of the seventh. Loyola showed why they have already posted over 20 wins this season. The Ramblers scored two runs on one hit that set-up Daker's steal of home.
Fenwick threatened in the last inning but came up short. Joe Carlini was hit by a pitch and John Brooks singled with two outs. Penkula fanned Dave Larsen to end the game.
Mike Brown went the distance in the second game and Shay Roche batted-in all three Fenwick runs with two singles.
Brown allowed nine hits, walked four and struck out four. In the sixth with bases loaded and two outs, Brown fanned Loyola's No. 3 hitter.
"This was Brown's best pitched game of the season," Hogan said. "He was extremely sharp. He beat a real good Loyola team."
Fenwick began last week with a 7-0 shutout of De La Salle. Marino had three hits in the victory. Pat Brady nailed a 3-run homer.
Hogan wasn't happy with the way his team left so many runners stranded on base in the loss to St. Rita.
"Leaving runners on base is our number one problem so far this season," he said. "I guess we're our worst enemy."
Fenwick took batting practice against de Sales pitchers. Horrigan had four RBIs and Brooks and Murphy each had two hits.
This week Fenwick will be playing games everyday except Friday. The Friars are scheduled to play Leo, Guerin, St. Laurence and Hales. Saturday Fenwick will be home against Gordon Tech for a doubleheader beginning at 11 a.m.