by Wyatt Bose ’23
Balk! said both the base and home plate umpires simultaneously. “Runner [on 3rd base] scores and you [Knight] go to 2nd [base].”
SAN JOSE, CA – On Saturday afternoon, the Bells hosted St. Francis for the first matchup between the two WCAL rivals this season.
Wade Mountz ’24 took the mound for Bellarmine and Jack Surdey ’23 for St. Francis. Mountz owned the Lancers all afternoon, posting 5 2/3 scoreless innings, while the Bellarmine offense got to Surdey early.
After consecutive singles from Bellarmine’s consistent 1 and 2 hitters, Luke Rooney ’23 and Chase Knight ’23, Trent Malik ’23 scored both runners on a line drive single to right field, putting the Bells up 2-0.
In the 2nd inning, despite a Nate Escalada ’23 leadoff double down the left field line, the Bells could not capitalize on an opportunity to put the Lancers away early. Bellarmine failed to execute a sacrifice bunt with 0 outs, got picked off with runners on 1st and 3rd with 1 out, and left the bottom of the 2nd with 0 runs to their name.
Despite Bellarmine’s offensive blunders, Mountz continued to dominate on the rubber. In the 3rd inning, St. Francis’ leadoff hitter reached base on an error, but Mountz was unperturbed. The Junior rained on St. Francis’ 5-second parade, sitting down the next three Lancers with ease, all by way of the strikeout. Needless to say, he was emotional as he left the mound… expletive-free, of course.
In the bottom of the 3rd, Thomas Trombatore ’23 smacked a leadoff double off the wall in deep center field to jumpstart what should have been another Bellarmine rally. However, after stealing 3rd on a wild pitch, Trombatore would be left stranded due to consecutive K’s at the dish.
“Bend but don’t break.”
The Bells were having their way with Surdey, who was bending for now but, in a matter of time, would be broken.
In the 5th inning, the top of the order was at it again for the boys in blue. Rooney led-off with a walk, and Knight followed with a line drive single into center field, setting the table for the heart of the order. Trombatore launched a deep flyout to center field that advanced Rooney to 3rd, leaving runners on 1st and 3rd with 1 out.
And then the Bells broke Surdey.
After a few exchanges between coach San Hamel and Knight at first base, it appeared something was about to transpire. During the at-bat, St. Francis called several pick-offs, including a back-pick from the catcher, in an attempt to keep Knight at 1st and be hesitant of stealing 2nd. I think it just aggravated him even more.
In the middle of the at-bat, Knight attempted to steal 2nd but returned to 1st because of a foul ball, and coach San Hamel whispered something in his ear. Two pitches later, Knight took off for 2nd before Surdey began his motion towards home plate, evoking a panicked callout from the St Francis infield:
“Step-off! Step-off! Step-off!”
Unfortunately, for the victimized Surdey, he began his motion just as his infield noticed the stealing Knight. Beyond rattled himself, Surdey deactivated his delivery in an attempt to go back in time, step-off the rubber, and throw to second base. Yeah, you can’t do that.
“Balk!” said both the base and home plate umpires, simultaneously. “Runner [on 3rd base] scores and you [Knight] go to 2nd [base].”
In the 6th, Mountz allowed a 2-out solo homerun to St. Francis’ Derek Gile ’23 for the Lancers’ first and only run of the game. Mountz exited to a standing ovation from the Bellarmine fans after a masterful performance on the mound, and Ishaan Khambal ’24 took his place.
Khambal wasted no time striking out the first batter he faced, sending the Bells back in the dugout with a 3-1 lead.
To the bottom of the 6th we went, and the Bells smelled blood in the water. Surdey was out of the game, and a soft-throwing left-hander entered for St. Francis. Chris Rudell ’23 led-off with a walk, and Vincent Mattesso ’23 replaced him as a pinch runner.
Before Mattesso could attempt to steal 2nd base, Calem Filipek ’24 launched a moonshot over the left-center field wall and onto the track, busting the game open and extending the Bells’ lead to 5-1.
In the 7th, Khambal struck out two Lancers to end the game, and the celebration began.
The Bells won 5-1 and are off to a great start this year at 7-1-1 overall.
Wyatt Bose is the Sports Editor and a staff writer for The Bell Online. Check out his sports blog: thecogentcolumn.com.