Nathan Mollat/Daily Journal
Burlingame shortstop Ryan Kammuller fires a throw to first during the Panthers’ 8-1 win over Carlmont in the PAL Bay Division opener for both teams Wednesday.
The Burlingame baseball team went into its Peninsula Athletic League Bay Division opener against host Carlmont Wednesday having scuffled throughout the non-league portion of its schedule.
The Panthers were just 1-3 against PAL Ocean Division teams in the preseason, struggling to score runs. When they did put runs on the board, their pitching staff could not keep the opposition down.
Against the defending Bay Division champs Scots, however, the Panthers put together arguably its best effort of the season in an 8-1 victory.
“[The win] is huge,” said Burlingame left fielder Jonathan Engelmann, who capped the victory with a grand slam in the top of the sixth inning. “We’re a team that needs confidence.”
Burlingame (1-0 PAL Bay, 3-4 overall) scratched out single runs in the second, third, fourth and fifth innings to take a 4-0 lead. The Panthers were not pounding the ball all over the park, however. They were patient at the plate and then, with runners in scoring position played fundamental, situational baseball. Those initial four runs came off of just two hits.
“That’s been missing and it’s something we have to do because we’re not going to bang the ball around,” said Burlingame manager Shawn Scott.
Carlmont manager Rich Vallero was almost at a loss for words about how his team performed. The Scots avoided the shutout by plating a run in the bottom of the seventh inning, but they were shut down by Burlingame pitcher Kevin Maltz throughout, managing just five hits for the game.
“We were flat in our home opener and they came in and kicked us in the face,” Vallero said. “But you can’t take anything away from their guy (Maltz) on the bump.”
Maltz wasn’t blowing away the Carlmont hitters, but he used location and movement to keep the Scots off balance throughout the game. After giving up a double to Kyle Barret in the first inning, Maltz didn’t allow another hit until a Ryan Giberton single in the bottom of the fifth.
“I felt good coming in,” Maltz said. “I was hitting my spots. Everything was feeling good. I relied on my fastball throughout the day.
“[This win] is what we needed.”
Added Scott: “He’s pitched well for us all year.”
Carlmont starter Evan McClain breezed through the first three Burlingame batters, needing just six pitches to get back in the dugout. The Scots proceeded to load the bases in the bottom of the first inning with two outs, but could not take advantage.
Whatever McClain had working for him in the first inning, however, disappeared and he lasted through just four innings — not that his defense did him any favors, committing four errors.
In the top of the second, Burlingame took a 1-0 lead. The Panthers loaded the bases with two outs on a fielder’s choice and a pair of walks. Will Lambson hit a routine grounder to the Carlmont second baseman, but he booted it for an error, with Mitchell Gaiser scoring on the play.
Burlingame doubled its lead in the second when leadoff hitter Griffin Intrieri reached on a bunt single. Ryan Kammuller was hit by a pitch and both runners moved up a base on Englemann’s flyout to right. A Dominic Garcia groundout chased home Intrieri with the Panthers’ second run of the game.
The Panthers took a 3-0 lead with another run in the fourth inning, with Ryan Weeks scoring on an Intrieri groundout. In the fifth, a Mitchell Swanson sacrifice fly to center drove home Engelmann for the Panthers’ fourth run of the afternoon.
The Panthers all but ended the game with a four-run sixth. Lambson led off the inning and reached on an error. Intrieri singled and Kammuller reached on an infield hit to load the bases to bring up Engelmann. After taking the first pitch for a ball, Engelmann unloaded on the next offering, blasting it deep over the left-field fence.
“Fastball. I was sitting on the fastball,” Engelmann said. “I knew I hit it well.”
Carlmont finally strung some hits together to scratch out a run in the bottom of the seventh. Giberton singled and moved to third on Nick Thompson’s double to the right center-field gap. Following a flyout, Barret hit a sacrifice fly to center, with Giberton scampering home for the Scots’ lone run.
“They (Carlmont) just had a bad day today,” Scott said. “They don’t commit [four] errors. They’re a better team than that.”