Vars baseball stuns Washington Eagles to claim AAA championship title

As rain poured down at Oracle Park on Wednesday May 15, the Lowell Cardinals won their seventh straight citywide championship. When the game was called early due to the downpour, the Cardinals celebrated their 5-0 annihilation of the Washington Eagles by clamoring together in a circle behind home plate as supporters cheered from the stands.

Xinglin Li
Head coach Michael Sera and the Cardinals gather together during the AAA Baseball Frosh/Soph championship against the Washington Eagles on May 15 at Oracle Park.

The game started off strong with sophomore pitcher Jack Schoenherr on the mound. With the Cardinals’ stellar infield backing him up, Schonherr quickly retired the first three of the Eagles batters.This quick shutout of the Eagles offense set a precedent for the whole game, only broken once in the fourth inning when Washington Senior Christian Wong hit a single. The Cardinals offense was not daunted by the increasing foul weather as they scored two runs in the first inning. Sophomore third basemen Mark Zhu hit a two-run triple, scoring sophomore catcher Stanley Shane and senior first basemen Levi Humphrey.

Xinglin Li
Taking an upright stride, sophomore infielder and pitcher Jack Schonherr prepares to throw a fastball atop the mound.

The game intensified as it continued, starting when senior center fielder Trey Chase was hit by a pitch. Afterwards, Chase stole second base on a fumbled ball, causing the Eagles to respond by calling for their first meeting on the mound. The Cardinals scored two more runs, bringing their lead to 4-0.

Unaffected by the worsening weather–puddles were now covering the infield–the Cardinals scored another run in the third inning, as star pitcher Schoner hit a single that brought Zhu across the plate for the final run of the game.

Halfway though the fifth inning, after a flawless defensive play by sophomore shortstop Philippe Astier and Humphrey to retire the final Eagles player, the game was called short due to the weather. Rain-soaked Cardinals crowded the filed in shocked celebration. This was their fourth straight win against the Eagles this season, all games ending without any runs scored by Washington. It was Lowell’s seventh California Interscholastic Federation San Francisco Section title in a row and 24th overall.

While Tony Bennett’s “I Left My Heart in San Francisco” played,  triumphant Head Coach Daryl Semien only had words of praise for the city champions. “These guys went out and executed [their plan] despite the elements, despite the big stage, despite everything that went on today. I can’t be any prouder of them,” Semien said. He was amazed by the amount of work the players put in all season to get to this level and the dedication they showed to the game by playing through the horrible conditions.

The winning pitcher of the day, Schoenherr, said he felt great out on the mound, with a strong fastball and staying in the strike zone all day. Schoenherr said he didn’t let the conditions affect his performance as he worked through the batters. In awe of the Cardinals’ success, Schoenherr knew that they fought hard for their title as citywide champion. “This is amazing, seven in a row, this team has been great all year and we’ve worked really hard and earned this,” Schoenherr said.

Xinglin Li
As the baseball flies out of the pitcher’s hand, a Cardinal hitter is ready to swing a hit.

With spirits running high and clutching the trophy in their hands, the team congratulated themselves on the well-played season. “I’m feeling great, I mean these guys they battled a whole bunch of stuff today and they put it out of their heads and mentally we’re just here 200 percent, I couldn’t be happier and more proud,” Semien said. “It’s one of the more memorable games and one of our more memorable wins.”