The Credo Gryphon dominated the Rincon Valley Christian Eagles last Sat., May 4 with an overwhelming 14-0 victory.
It’s not the first massive win the Gryphon have secured this year. Last week’s game against Archbishop Hanna ended in with a similar situation, 23-3, and helped propel Credo to the third place position in the North Coast Section II Baseball League, right behind Sonoma Academy. In first is St. Vincent de Paul.
Unfortunately for the Gryphon, that third place position locks them out of the running for the pennant. There’s only one game left in the season against Calistoga, and even if they win, it’s hardly going to put a dent in St. Vincent’s 12-0 record.
Yet that third place title does secure the Gryphon’s entry into the playoffs.
“I’m nervous. I get nervous every game. Credo’s baseball program has only been around for five years. We’ve never won a pennant,” Gryphon coach John Aliotti said. “I was very happy with them. A lot of good discipline at bat. When we struggle, we’re jumping on first or second pitches, and that’s what I wanted to see tonight. I want them to relax, to wait for the ball until they can handle it.”
A chance to compete in the playoffs is a pretty big deal, especially for the Gryphons that are set to graduate. And there are quite a few. Saturday was Credo’s senior night and the last home game of the year, so for many Gryphon players this was their last real opportunity to wear their team’s colors in the regular season—many of whom have stayed with Credo’s program for the entirety of their high school careers.
Players like Finley Stopeck. Stopeck added to his team’s significant lead when he stepped up to bat in the fourth inning and smacked the ball into the glove of the Eagles’ second baseman. An error at first allowed Stopeck to advance to second, and it was there that he sat until his teammate, Tanner Rozema, hit the ball into the outfield that he managed to come home.
“I don’t think I’m going to be too upset to graduate. I think I’m going to be happy,” graduating Gryphon, Claude Pepe, said. “I’m leaving behind a really good coach and a really good team. I think they’re going to get better year by year.”
Yet at least one of Credo’s seniors had to sit his team’s final home game out. Joseph Aliotti suffered an injury earlier in the season which meant he couldn’t take to the field. Joseph has been a Gryphon for four years, the entirety of his high school career, and as he watched his team systematically demolish the Eagles, Joseph was filled with a mixture of pride and melancholy. “This is my last chance to play baseball. I’m going to be joining the Air Force after graduation, so it’ll be sad to leave them behind. It’ll be sad to stop playing baseball,”
Still, Joseph feels confident in the team he’s leaving behind.
“It will be nice to look back and know that I was one of the first players on this team. I’ll always have this hat.”