by Mitch Lehman
While one career continued to draw to a close, on the same night and in the same family, another just may have received the impetus to advance to bigger and better things.
Another day in Dr. John Shohfi’s estimable run as President of San Marino National Little League slid off the calendar at Arcadia’s Bonita Park on Tuesday evening, but to followers of San Marino baseball, the Section 2 Junior Baseball championship game might have signaled the opening salvo of son J.P.’s career as a pitcher.
“Hardly ever,” said dad when asked by this reporter if “Japes” was a frequent visitor to the mound. “An inning here and an inning there.”
Facing as tough a situation as a fledgling hurler might ever encounter, Shohfi the Younger tossed four scoreless innings and added four hits to lead the Junior All-Stars to a come-from-behind 15-13 win over Encino and the Section 2 championship.
“That was absolute blood and guts,” said Coach Mack Paciorek. “I give a lot of credit to [assistant Coach] Jeff Hannan. He said ‘J.P. is not going to let us lose this game.’ He was right. J.P. came in and was able to continuously find what was all night a very small strike zone. He came in and got a job done that had to get done.”
Trevor Davis – who put San Marino in position to win the championship when he twirled a 1-0 gem on Sunday – powered a 2nd inning home run to help the good guys to a 10-2 lead after just two innings.
After a furious Encino comeback, Ryan Lee scored in the seventh to send the game into extra innings. Michael Chan scored the go-ahead run in the top of the thirteenth and Jackson Diaz singled home an insurance run, clearing the stage for Shohfi’s final act.
Ben Capouya caught all ten innings and drove in the deciding run in the tenth.
San Marino advanced to the Subdivision tournament which begins this Saturday, July 20 at Memorial Park in Santa Ana. First pitch is 10:00 a.m.
“This team displays excellent chemistry for a group of thirteen and fourteen year-olds,” said Coach Hannan. “They are a very tight group and they completely support one another. It is a joy.”
The San Marino National Little League Seniors baseball team beat San Fernando Little League 7-0 on Saturday, Tehachapi Little League 5-3 on Sunday, and Tehachapi again 18-5 on Tuesday to claim the Section 2 title for District 17 and San Marino.
Outstanding pitching by Miles Glazier – who was perfect through 5-2/3 innings during the first Tehachapi game – Michael Won, Carson Glazier, and Paul Callahan kept San Marino from ever surrendering a lead during the entire tourney.
Mark Wicke distinguished himself behind the plate, catching every single inning and surviving a train wreck in the final game which resulted in the ejection of the opposing player.
Bryan Gleason threw out two runners at the plate from right field and clutch hitting from Patrick Crowley, Garrett Hill, Michael Won, Mark Wicke and Tyler Spitzer paced the offense.
Noah Thompson, Paul Callahan, and the Glazier brothers added key hits as well. Mark Uriarte put on a base-running clinic, manufacturing extra bases and runs throughout the tournament.
The key to San Marino’s success, however, was the crack infield play of Wicke, Hill, Spitzer, Patrick Crowley and Glazier. Hill made a web-gem, game-saving leap, catch, and throw in the first Tehachapi game to preserve the victory.
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