STOCKTON -- Beyer High won a conference title and two playoff games because of its superior pitching. Its season is over, however, in large part because its strength became a liability.
For the second night in a row, the starter got knocked around and the Patriots were unable to escape from an early 9-0 deficit.
This time, it was St. Mary's rolling to an 11-0 victory in the losers' bracket final of the Sac-Joaquin Section Division I South sub-section tournament, ending the Patriots' season with a 22-8 record.
It was a five-inning game, due to the 10-run mercy rule.
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The Rams (20-11) play Buhach Colony (24-6) at 5 p.m. today at University of the Pacific. Buhach is 3-0 in the tourney, so if it loses, a second game follows to determine the section finalist.
Beyer was 2-0 in the playoffs before Wednesday, when Buhach pounded starter Dom Rossi for seven runs in two-plus innings.
Thursday, it was junior left-hander Ryan Fahey taking the hit, facing six batters before being pulled. He walked the first two, gave up a towering homer to Michael Rivera, then a double and a triple before leaving.
"The best way to get on base is to hit a first-pitch fastball, so I'm always looking for that," Rams leadoff hitter Beau Riley said. "It came right down the middle, and he left it hanging a little bit, too."
Beyer, meanwhile, was unable to solve Louie Lecich. The lefty, who beat Davis 11-1 in the first round, was just as dominant this time, holding Beyer to a lone hit.
It was an all-around disastrous effort, as even its defense was unable to produce. Beyer committed four errors -- misplaying a fly into a three-base error, throwing away two grounders and firing a ball into center on a stolen-base attempt.
Beyer had a 2.77 ERA and held foes to a .225 batting average in the first 28 games but gave up 20 runs and 19 hits in its final two games. The Patriots made just 43 errors in their first 28 games but made seven in these last two.
Vince Roberts was the other option to start, but only twice this season had he pitched more than one inning in a game. The hope was Fahey could go four innings with Roberts and Kyle Barrett -- who threw five innings Monday -- available for the final three.
It never reached that point.
The six-run first shocked Beyer, whose lone hit was a double by Dillon Usiak in the second inning.
The Patriots' best scoring opportunity came with the bases loaded -- on three walks -- and two out in the fourth. Barrett ripped a two-hopper that appeared headed to left field, but diving third baseman Jake Cose snatched it and threw out Barrett at first.
Bee staff writer Richard T. Estrada can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 578-2300.