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Serra Rolls in WCAL Quarterfinal Serra Rolls in WCAL Quarterfinal
A quick turnaround for Serra’s starting pitcher worked perfectly. Braden Agosta wasn’t supposed to pitch in Tuesday’s WCAL Tournament Quarterfinal for the Serra Padres.... Serra Rolls in WCAL Quarterfinal

A quick turnaround for Serra’s starting pitcher worked perfectly.

Braden Agosta wasn’t supposed to pitch in Tuesday’s WCAL Tournament Quarterfinal for the Serra Padres. Friday had been his start day throughout league play.

But after he struggled with command and lasted just two innings in Friday’s win over Mitty, head coach Mat Keplinger decided to give the right-hander another shot on short rest.

It couldn’t have worked much better. Agosta fanned six over five shutout innings and Serra’s top of the order led the way to an 8-0 win over the Bellarmine Bells.

“I wanted to get him right back out there.” Keplinger said. “I didn’t want him to sit on that outing from last week, and the way the schedule shook out, when we played Bellarmine in league, they didn’t see him.”

With an overpowering fastball, Agosta likely would have been just fine even if the Bells had seen him before. He fanned six over his five innings and was aided by stellar defense from shortstop Michael Perazzo, highlighted by his play on a Nolan Randol grounder in the third inning.

Serra (21-5) took an early 1-0 lead when Pepperdine commit Joey Damelio scored on Ian Armstrong’s grounder to short, then added two more in the second on Damelio’s double off the wall in left-center. Armstrong doubled and scored on an Ian Josephson single in the third, and Cal Poly commit Jake Downing removed any remaining doubt with a three-run homer to right in the fourth.

Bellarmine (13-14), the seventh seed in the tournament, is unlikely to make the section playoffs after a year filled with pitching injuries. Head coach Nate Sutton approximated his team’s chances of receiving one of the Central Coast Section’s seven at-large bids at 5%.

If this is the end of the season for the Bells, it means Tuesday was Wade Mountz’s final appearance of his high school career. The Arkansas signee was charged with five runs against a Padres lineup that’s had a knack for rising to the occasion against top hurlers.

“We’re ready for any challenge that comes our way,” Keplinger said. “We’re at the point of the year in league play where there’s not a lot of secrets. He’s definitely one of the better arms in the league. I thought he was actually a little sharper today (than the last time we faced him), but we had a good plan and didn’t vary from it.”

The second-seeded Padres will host No. 3 Mitty (15-11-1) on Wednesday. The Monarchs trailed No. 6 Sacred Heart Cathedral 2-1 in the fifth inning on Tuesday, but pushed across two runs in the bottom half to take the lead and then pulled away by scoring six in the sixth.

Ethan Kassel

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