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Sierra’s Soto shackles Buhach to help team win fourth straight

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Sierra High’s Jake Souza slides in safely at second on a fielder’s choice from Ian Rodriguez in the third inning.


POSTED March 18, 2014 1:11 a.m.

Sierra kept its streak of double-digit run totals alive Monday with its 10-2 battering of visiting Buhach Colony, but the Timberwolves (5-2) have been pitching and catching well, too.

Diminutive lefty Leo Soto baffled Buhach batters after a spotty start, while the defense played mistake-free ball behind him.

Ty Dacuyan tagged a long single to the right-field fence in the top of the first inning, and the Thunder (2-6) of Atwater drew first blood when 6-foot-7 designated hitter Kaden Verdin-Cose blasted a double.

Soto cruised from there, retiring the next 16 batters following Jake Pruitt’s three-run homer in the bottom half of the opening inning that gave Sierra’s hurler a 4-1 cushion to work with. 

Logan Coe snapped Buhach Colony out of its funk with a leadoff double in the seventh and later scored on Austin Ekizian’s sacrifice fly.

“I started off a little rusty but once I got that out of my system I felt great,” Soto said. “It’s great knowing that I have a defense behind me and the offense. I can give up a few runs like I did today knowing that the team has my back.”

Soto did make it easy for his teammates for some stretches. He threw seven straight strikes to start the second inning, and at one point he fanned five batters in a row. The 5-foot-7 junior ended up with eight strikeouts and a walk in his four-hit jewel. He had thrown just 70 pitches through six innings but finished with 99.

“Our pitching isn’t overpowering so we have to play catch,” Sierra coach Jack Thomson said. “Leo did a great job today. He threw for more than one pitch for a strike and stayed ahead in the count.”

Even though Sierra plated at least 10 runs for a fourth straight outing it could have done more damage having left eight runners on base. Buhach helped Sierra’s cause by committing five errors, three of which came with two outs in a three-run fifth. The Timberwolves also took advantage of seven walks and totaled seven hits.

Dakota Conners was 2 for 2 with two walks and three runs. In the fourth, he belted a two-run triple to left field and was able to score on the same play after Buhach botched the relay throw from the outfield. Leadoff hitter Ryan Vasquez was 2 for 4 with two runs, and Kyle Oden scored three times.

“Even though we scored 10 runs I don’t think our approach at the plate was as good as it was last week,” Thomson said, “but we haven’t hit (batting practice) since last Wednesday because we played Thursday, Friday and  today. We need to work on a few things.”

Sierra’s pre-league schedule wraps up later this week at Modesto (1-6) on Friday and back home against Mira Loma (5-1) on Saturday.

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