SALEM – Western Christian knocked off No. 1 Kennedy 5-4 on Wednesday, ending the Trojans' 37-game winning streak in 2A/1A Special District 2 baseball.
Senior Milanno Camarena drove in two runs and pitched six innings, holding explosive Kennedy to four runs, to pick up the win for the host Pioneers (4-1, 4-0). Senior Owen Stalnaker pitched the seventh inning to earn the save, striking out the last two batters.
It was the first loss of the season for the Trojans (7-1, 3-1), who hadn't lost a district game since falling to St. Paul in 2018. They had won eight in a row over the Pioneers, dating back to the 2017 season.
“It was huge,” Camerena said of the win. “Our outfield were making plays on those fly falls. … They're great hitters. Nine times out of 10 they'll out-hit us. But today we showed up.”
Senior Declan Wark had two hits for Western Christian. The Pioneers scored single runs on errors in the third and fifth innings to open a 5-2 lead.
Kennedy pulled to within 5-4 with two runs in the sixth inning but could not complete the comeback.
“Give all the credit to them, they made all the routine plays and they deserve to win,” Kennedy coach Kevin Moffatt said. “Something was a little bit off, our approaches at the plate. We seemed a little passive at times. (Camarena) kept us off balance, and he did it to us last year, too. We knew it was coming, but we didn't compete very well at the plate.”
Kennedy finished with 10 hits. Junior Andrew Cuff had two hits and two RBIs and senior Riley Cantu had two hits. Cantu pitched four innings, striking out six.
The Trojans were the state runners-up in 2019 and went 18-1 last year, losing to Glide in the final of the season-ending 2A/1A tournament.
They will get a chance to pay back the Pioneers on Friday when they play them in a doubleheader at Kennedy.
“We'll see how they come out,” Moffatt said of his players. “Hopefully they like losing as much as I do, and that's not very much. It'll kind of get them going a little bit.”
The Pioneers, who have won four in a row since losing to St. Paul in the season opener, will try to build on the momentum.
“It's the goal, keep the same energy and go at them,” Camarena said. “Don't be intimidated or anything. We showed that we can stick with them, so I don't know why we can't the next two.”