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EU falters in final inning

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EU falters in final inning

East Union starter Gabe Chavez delivers from the mound and had a one hitter going into the seventh inning during Thursday’s 1-0 loss against Millennium of Tracy at Agostini Field.

HIME ROMERO/The Bulletin/

POSTED March 21, 2014 12:38 a.m.

Gabe Chavez kept the East Union baseball squad in the game with superb dealing from the bump Thursday.

Chavez pitched a complete game with three hits, four strikeouts and two walks, but an error caused by an awkward bounce to lead off the seventh inning eventually led to Millennium’s 1-0 victory over East Union (1-7).

“Sometimes the weirdest things happen in baseball and the ball doesn’t bounce the way you want it to bounce,” East Union head coach Dan Trigilia said. “But we competed well from the bump, and (Chavez) did a fantastic job.”

Chavez’s only run surrendered was unearned in the top of the seventh after Daniel Gutierrez of Millennium (6-1) got on with an error.

The ball took a funny hop at the start of the mound and Chavez lost the location. Gutierrez, who eventually scored the game’s only run on an RBI from Trent Rouse, beat out the throw to first.

Rouse’s RBI to right-center field came with two outs.

“Good pitching and good defense on both sides,” Millennium head coach Drew Reyes said. “It was a well-played game, and things just went right for us in the last inning. But we gave ourselves an opportunity to be there by playing well up until that point.”

The Lancers, who won their first game of the preseason Wednesday against Lodi 9-8, couldn’t string together a second straight victory despite threatening to do so.

East Union outhit the Falcons 5-3 and led off the bottom of the seventh by drawing two straight walks from Millennium ace Manjot Atwal (seven strikeouts, four hits, three walks, no runs).

“Our bats were a little bit quieted,” Trigilia said. “(Atwal) changed his speed and had a nice breaking ball. He could throw on any count and he kept us off-balance. It would have been nice to put a little pressure on him and score some base runners early.”

East Union’s Lucas Garcia and Kyle Emerson drew bases on balls to put two runners on with no one out in the bottom of the final frame. Garcia and Emerson advanced to second and third on a passed ball. Andrew Ruiz popping out to shallow infield brought Brandon Ridgewell to the dish with a chance to at worst tie the game with a sac-fly.

Ridgewell got a hold of a two-strike pitch from Atwal, which was blasted directly to the Millennium center fielder Matthew DeWitt for a line drive. DeWitt made the play and tossed it back to second for the double play that ended the game.

“Great at-bat,” Trigilia said. “Ridgewell smoked that ball and hit it hard. Unfortunately it was right at (DeWitt).

“We got to be a little bit more heads up with our base running than that. We have to understand the situation a little bit more to allow the next guy to come up and tie the game or extend the game or win the game. We have to improve our awareness.”

Jake Graves, Garcia and Ridgewell had a hit in each of the first three innings. Emerson and Ridgewell (2 for 3) tallied the Lancers’ fourth and fifth hits in the fifth frame.

Emerson and Ridgewell were both left stranded after Joseph Souza and Chavez struck out looking. Chavez went 0 for 3 and struck out looking on each at bat, twice with runners in scoring position. East Union left three runners on base and will gear up for its final preseason game today on the road against Ceres at 3:30 p.m.

“Solid defense for the most part,” Trigilia concluded. “We have to take this loss and learn from it and get ready for Ceres (today) and then get ready for Oakdale.”

The Lancers are scheduled to open Valley Oak League play against Oakdale Tuesday.

Ripon Chr. 3, Waterford 0

Travis Vander Molen connected on a hard-hit double that bounced off the center-field wall to score older cousin Danny Vander Molen and handed the Knights a 1-0 lead in the sixth inning. Travis Vander Molen also got the win from the hill and finished with nine strikeouts and four walks and Danny came in for the save. Ripon Christian (2-0 Southern League, 3-4 overall) tacked on its final two runs in the top of the seventh. The Knights will take on Le Grand at home on Tuesday at 4 p.m.

Edison 16, Weston Ranch 10

Cougar senior Devonte Daniels went 3 for 3 with two walks and Kyle Ostertag and Andrew Paden each had doubles. Manuel Rubio (1 for 3, run) and Cody Simerley (1 for 2) recorded extra-base hits as well. Weston Ranch (2-8) will host Manteca on Tuesday at 3:30 p.m.

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