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Sherman Oaks Notre Dame overcomes deficit to win Mission League opener

With temperatures hovering around 40 degrees and snow on the mountains nearby, there was every reason to believe the pitchers at the Mission League baseball opener on Wednesday in Sherman Oaks between Notre Dame And Bishop Alemany may have some issues with walks given how hard it is to hold the baseball in the cold.

Sure enough, Notre Dame ace Oliver Boone didn’t get out of the first inning. He gave up six runs on four walks and two hit batters and never got a batter out before being pulled.

“I couldn’t get a grip on it,” Boone said.

At the end of the game, eight pitchers combined would walk 19 and hit seven batters.

Notre Dame outfielder Kai Gonzaga saw it all happen from left field.

“When the sun went down, it froze,” he said.

Alemany opened up an 8-0 lead in the second inning and saw Notre Dame come back for an 11-8 victory. The big hit was a tying home run by Gonzaga over the right field fence in the sixth inning that tied the score.

“It was incredible,” Gonzaga said of his first home run in high school varsity baseball. “I didn’t even think it was going to end. I was suprised. I am still in shock.”

Ryan Limerick would follow with a two-run double and Madden Ocko an RBI triple to mark a five-run sixth run. Levi Sterling came in the seventh inning and picked up the save with three strikeouts.

Andrew Garcia finished with four RBIs for Alemany, including a three-run triple.

Notre Dame coach Tom Dill, in his 31st season, has seen his share of odd games, but Wednesday’s was close to the top.

“To think that one of the best pitchers doesn’t get an out in the first inning and has to give up six runs. . . when I got up in the morning, I didn’t think about that,” he said.

Pitchers Erik Puodziunas, Nate Kugler and Sterling limited Alemany to two hits in 61/3 innings of relief pitching. The teams resume their three-game series on Thursday in Alemany.

Meanwhile, Harvard-Westlake suffered a 5-4 Mission League road loss to St. Francis. Holden Deitch had two hits and two RBI’s. Xander Douglas got the last two outs with the tying run on base for the save. Freshman St. Francis coach Shaun Kort was a Harvard-Westlake assistant.

In a non-competitive game, West Ranch defeated Granada Hills 12-5. Matt Lloyd homered for West Ranch and Mickey Murr had three hits and three RBI’s.

Sterling Patrick struckout nine in South Hills’ 8-2 victory over Huntington Beach.