They May be Rivals, but They are Hardly Competition


Kevin Steimle

The Dons fought hard to take home their 25th Western League Championship Title. The baseball players celebrate their comeback against Saint Augustine High School to win 4-3, as pictured above.

The Cathedral Catholic High School (CCHS) baseball boys conclude their participation in the Western League by sweeping Saint Augustine High School (Saints) with the series score 3-0. With this, the team secured their status as league champions and took the second seed position in CIF playoffs.

Going into the series against CCHS’s long-standing rival, the players understood that they needed to win all three games of the series to steal the league title from Patrick Henry High School.

From the first game on Monday, May 8, the Dons fought hard to take the lead. The stands were packed with Dons chirping and cheering from outside the fence. On the mound was senior Max Bayles, who gave up just one and struck out five through four innings.

The Dons’ offense was phenomenal. Alex Harrington ‘26, Anthony (AP) Perritano ‘24, and Vinny Venverloh ‘24 all had outstanding performances. Harrington hit the Dons’ only inside-the-park home run of the year. Perritano had a multi-hit game, also batting in a run, and Venverloh went 3/3 at bat, contributing a single, double, and a triple to the Dons’ success. Keeping the lead all seven innings, the Dons ended the game with a score of 5-1.

Spirits remained high as the Dons traveled down to Hickman Field for the second game of the series, eager to repeat the triumphs of the day prior.

John Maffei with the San Diego Union Tribune credits Venverloh as “the star of Cathedral’s win Tuesday, driving in three.” At this point, Venverloh maintained a 5/5 at-bat record for the series.

Trey Telfer ‘24 gave up only three hits in his six innings on the mound. The Saintsmen managed to get one run on the night, playing with little improvement from the day prior. The Dons, however, outdid their already magnificent performance, sending nine runners home to win the game.

Perritano sent his third home run of the year deep over the fence, bringing two home. Stevie Castillo ‘23 also got several hits on the day, mentions the official team Instagram (@cchsdonsbaseball).

On Thursday, May 11, the final game was back on campus, which allowed for an incredible turnout from students and staff. In fact, ASB promoted a junior class bonding event at the field. This allowed juniors to tailgate the baseball game before the first pitch. They provided food, music, decorations and were successful in gaining attention for the game. The student section assembled behind home plate and supported the Dons through—what turned out to be—an unusually long game.

This game was not as simple as Monday and Tuesday. Perhaps it was the intimidation of the roaring crowd or the championship title at stake, but the Dons started slow on the field. The scoreboard read 3-0 by the top of the sixth inning with Saints holding a strong lead. CCHS’s starting pitcher, Michael Podstreleny ‘24, struck out seven and gave up a few runs, but the offense was not as strong as seen earlier in the week. By the sixth inning, Venverloh was put in the game to pitch relief.

Even as the Dons approached the final inning, they held onto their hope. By the bottom of the sixth, they began their comeback with an RBI single from Eli Selga ‘24. Venverloh maintained this 3-1 score through the top of the seventh, without giving up any runs.

The Dons were back up to bat with only one more chance to salvage their Western League Title. Harrington started the inning by drawing a walk off of Saints’ pitcher Grayson Boles ‘25 and the comeback officially began. The next batter, Cody Nitowitz ‘23, singled, moving Harrington to third base. Venverloh then added a single of his own; allowing Harrington to score and Nitowitz to progress to third base. The gap closed to a hopeful score of 3-2.

To terminate the Saints’ lead, Perritano hit into a double play, sending Nitowitz home and sending the game into extra innings. The seventh inning ended with a score of 3-3.

Venverloh, still pitching, held Saints from gaining any runs in the eighth, ninth, then tenth inning.

With sunlight fading in the bottom of the tenth inning and the winning run on third, Cole Thomson ‘23 stepped up to the plate. The crowd was on the edge of their seats—sickened by the thought of an eleventh inning. Louder than the hollering of family and friends was the contact made by Thomson’s bat. Ping. The sharp ground ball to right field allowed the winning run to come home. The boys stampeded the field and the fans finally exhaled.

Thomson told Maffei with the San Diego Union Tribune, “I was looking for a fastball and I got it. It was over the plate and a little low. I did what I needed to do. We’re league champs.”

The Dons fought hard to earn their 25th league title for the CCHS baseball program. Congratulations to the players and coaches: the 2022-2023 Western League Champions! May this luck and spirit follow you through the upcoming playoffs.