Monarch Park hungers for Tier 2 title

BEST FOOT FORWARD: Parkdale’s Will Baigent slides into second base but is dead on arrival as Lions baseman Ted Kaulakis tags him out.

There’s a new Tier 2 varsity boys challenger on the prowl.

Judging by their pitching prowess on June 1, Monarch Park Lions are looking to ascend the throne as South Region champs.

After chatting to his charges, preening after a 14-0 win over the Parkdale Panthers, Lions coach Nick Cunjac made his team’s intentions clear:

Dethrone Riverdale.

“That’s our goal,” he said of winning the Tier 2 title. “We know they’re stiff competition, but we feel as though we’re on the same page as them.

“We’ve put a little more work in so we feel we can execute if we get to that game — assuming they get to that game as well.”

A solid outing by pitcher Che Andrews helped Monarch Park’s hunt. Through three he struck out six, allowing two hits, no runs and walking one.

A gusty day was no concern for Andrews. In fact, he said it aided him.

“I throw a knuckleball but it is not as advanced yet, so I don’t throw it as much,” he said. “But it helped my curveball a lot.”

Any junk thrown on this day caught Panthers members by surprise, ensuring a quick seat on the dugout’s pine.

Parkdale coach David Dingwall admitted it was a day where Murphy’s Law was the edict.

“Not much worked for us today,” he said. “What could go wrong did go wrong today.”

It’s been a work in progress for the downtown squad. With no seniors to be found on the roster, it’s been difficult for the Panthers.

But there are highlights.

“The guy who started for us, Will Baigent, he’s been our workhorse for us all year,” Dingwall said. “He had a really off game today.

“Whatever you ask him to do, he’ll do it,” he added. “If you ask him to run through a wall he will do it.”

Baigent went three innings allowing 11 runs, struck out three, walked three. His replacement in the fourth, Jack Peterson struck out two, allowed no runs and one hit.

Though it was a tough day for Parkdale pitchers, they were not completely to blame as Monarch Park’s bats were hot.

Batting 1 for 2, with two walks was Andrews, who contributed to his mound win with a three-run bomb to right field in the bottom of the fourth. The shot went more than 324 feet.

Another standout was Tyler Burtin who cashed in three runs, scored three of his own and went 2 for 3 on the game with a walk and strikeout. Strong and steady at the plate was Alex Sredski going 3 for 3.

The scoring trend continued for the Lions into their semifinal bout against Central Tech with a 7-4 victory, June 2. On the same day Riverdale won their battle against Rosedale Heights by the same score.

All the right pieces are in place and to Cunjac it’s not only up to Monarch Park’s seniors but their cubs as well when they face Riverdale June 7. Unfortunately press time crept up before results were available.

“When you get a first year player stepping up and contributing, it’s a coach’s dream,” Cunjac said. “It’s really hard to just focus on the seniors, you need the nines to come out and play as well.”

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