LOUISVILLE — Of all the skills Ryan Norton brings to the Monarch baseball team, the senior’s most prized attribute might be his short-term memory.
Norton had a key error, was caught stealing and picked off on Saturday.
But he shook off the mistakes and came back produce the game-winning RBI and record the save on the mound in the Coyotes’ 4-3 non-league win against Pomona.
“You have to put your past behind you and just keep your head focused in the game,” Norton said. “Anything can change, because it is baseball and anything can happen.”
As humbling as the sport can be at times, part of its charm is that it seemingly always offers a chance for redemption. Norton’s came in the bottom of the sixth inning.
The Coyotes, who improved to 2-0 under new coach Scott Weiss, trailed 3-2 entering the inning. Catcher Fred Good bashed a home run over the 370-foot marker in center field to tie it, and Norton came to the plate later in the inning with two on and two out.
He ripped his third single of the game to score Alex Blazon, who was ruled to have crossed the plate just before Levi Ensign was tagged out going from first to third on the play.
After Monarch relief pitcher and winner Austin Beswick walked the leadoff hitter in the seventh, Norton came in from second base to record the final three outs. Included were two strikeouts, the final one with the tying run on third.
“Fantastic way to end,” Weiss said. “We talk about having heart through seven innings and we played a full seven-inning game today. Ryan doesn’t hang his head after he gets picked off, then he comes out and gets the game-winning hit and also shuts the other team down.”
Weiss, a former Stanford and minor league pitcher, said the contest was “exactly what we’re looking for” as he starts the new regime.
The Coyotes used an RBI groundout from Good and an RBI double by Blazon to take a 2-0 lead in the fourth. But Pomona (1-1) came back with three in the fifth to chase starter Garrett Elzinga, the final two when Norton couldn’t cleanly field a sharp hop with the bases loaded.
Pomona coach E.J. Mapps praised the effort of each team and indicated that the Coyotes look sharp under Weiss’ guidance.
“His kids played hard,” Mapps said. “They know what to do and they’re playing with some passion. Definitely looks like he’s doing a real good job.”
Monarch 4, Pomona 3
At Monarch HS
Pomona (1-1) 000 030 0 — 3 7 1
Monarch (2-0) 000 202 X — 4 9 2
W — Beswick (1-0). L — Hogoboom (0-1) Sv — Norton.
Pomona (ab-r-h-rbi) — Perez 3-1-2-0, Martinelli 3-0-0-0, Benefield 3-1-1-0, Olinger 3-0-1-0, DeHerrera 2-1-0-1, Ahmad 3-0-0-0, Coisman 1-0-0-0, McClure 4-0-0-0, Pratt 3-0-2-0, Thistle 3-0-1-0. Totals 31-3-7-1. SB — Pratt.
Monarch (ab-r-h-rbi) — Wood 3-0-0-0, Przedpelski 3-0-1-0, Ensign 0-0-0-0, Norton 4-0-3-1, Maltese 2-0-0-0, Manders 3-1-2-0, Stork 2-0-1-0, Soole 3-1-0-0, Good 2-1-1-2, Blazon 2-1-1-1. Totals 24-4-9-4. 2B — Blazon. HR — Good (solo in 6th).
Pomona (ip-h-r-er-bb-so) — Thistle 5-7-2-0-3-7, Hogoboom 1-2-2-2-2-1.
Monarch (ip-h-r-er-bb-so) — Elzinga 4.1-5-3-1-4-3, Beswick 1.2-2-0-0-0-2, Norton 1-0-0-0-0-2.