The sixth-seeded Homestead High baseball team capitalized on a pair of two-out errors in the first inning and batted around to score four unearned runs, and No. 11 seed Serra never recovered.
The visiting Padres, a perennial West Catholic Athletic League power, saw that deficit balloon to seven runs two innings later, and soon enough Serra was handed a 7-2 defeat that marks the program’s first opening-round ouster since 2005.
“I’m spinning right now – sort of numb,” Padres second-year coach Craig Giannino said. “Hard to believe.”
After shocking Serra, Homestead will face another difficult task on Saturday against Palo Alto, the CCS runner-up in Division II last year.
The Vikings won both meetings this season, holding the Mustangs without a score in each contest.
Serra (17-12) hadn’t played an error-free game all season, and it didn’t take long for that streak to continue.
With Homestead’s Gordon Deacon (2-for-4) at second with two outs in the first, Padres starter Orlando Razo seemed poised to get out of the inning by inducing a grounder from cleanup batter Owen Price.
But a throwing error allowed Deacon to score and Price to take second, and then Scott Torres (2-for-3) promptly followed by dropping an RBI single into shallow leftfield to make it 2-0.
After a Carl Gutekunst single, Homestead first baseman Jeff Hardy delivered the big blow with a two-run double to deep center that put Serra in a 4-0 hole.
Another error on a tough-hop grounder gave the Mustangs runners at first and third, but Razo induced a force play to end the inning.
“It’s pretty much been a pattern consistently,” Giannino said when asked about Serra’s defensive lapses. “We’re talking about fundamental plays, playing catch, groundballs.”
That lead proved plenty for Homestead starter Graham Gage, who allowed two runs in 5 1/3 innings, striking out eight and walking none.
"As a public school, you always feel like you have something to prove," Gage said. "Our main goal was to win a game in CCS. ... This year, we were expecting more out of ourselves, and we got that."
Serra’s Razo exited after allowing an RBI single to Gutekunst with two outs in the third that made it 5-0.
Then Homestead (18-13-1) scored twice more before reliever Thomas Cox could end the threat, effectively putting the game out of reach.
After Serra’s Chris Lewis (2-for-3) led off the sixth with a single off Gage, Michael McEntee hammered a two-run, opposite-field home run over the 369-foot sign in right-center.
But that marked the only inning in which the Padres managed multiple hits – another sluggish showing for a lineup that has had its fair share of meager days.
In recent years, Serra had routed Homestead in CCS openers – prevailing 8-0 in 2008 and 11-0 a year later – but the Mustangs decisively turned the tables on Wednesday.
Serra center fielder Andre Mercurio, who doubled and drew a walk, said the disheartening ending seemed about par for the course for a season that included a 7-7 finish in the West Catholic Athletic League and a first-round loss to St. Ignatius in the league’s tournament.
Homestead 7, Serra 2
S – 000 002 0 – 2 7 2
H – 403 000 x – 7 10 3
WP: Gage. LP: Razo.
HR: McEntee (S). 2B: Mercurio (S); Hardy (H). 2 hits: Lewis (S); Deacon, Torres,
2 RBI: McEntee (S); Hardy (H).
Records: Serra 17-12. Homestead 18-13-1.