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Sierra edges EU in VOL baseball

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Sierra’s Chase Sperbeck (11) makes the sliding catch Thursday.

HIME ROMERO/The Bulletin/

POSTED April 21, 2017 1:11 a.m.

It came down to the last batter Thursday but East Union came up just a little short as with two outs and the bases loaded in the bottom of the seventh as Lancers designated hitter Tyler Slaughter hit a towering fly ball to the right-field fence. Starting Sierra pitcher Jacob Peterson got under the ball and fought off the sun for a game-saving catch and a 6-5 win Valley Oak League win for the visiting Timberwolves at Agostini Field. 

“We had the opportunity to tie the game or win the game,” East Union coach Dan Triglia said. “I thought Tyler (Slaughter) had a really good at-bat and hit it hard but they made a nice play.”

Close VOL games are nothing new to Sierra this season. 

“We have had six league games,” Sierra coach Jack Thomson said. “Four of them have been one-run games and another was 12 innings.

“I didn’t think our approach at the plate today was going to be good enough to win. That’s going to have to get better if we are going to continue to win games like this. We had a couple of opportunities late to make it a two- or three-run game, but we didn’t get it done.”

Jesse Babauta keyed a four-run fourth for Timberwolves (5-1 VOL, 10-5 overall) with a two-RBI triple.

“At that point with two outs I was just trying to find a way to get on base,” Babauta said. “I just keep the runners moving.”

Jaden Pina, Jesse Ortiz-Martinez and Chase Sperbeck drew consecutive one-out walks in the fourth for Sierra. Pina scored on a groundout by Diego Duarte and Babauta’s triple plated Ortiz-Martinez and Sperbeck. Babauta scored when Peterson’s infield grounder was misplayed to give the Timberwolves the 6-5 lead they would hold the rest of the game. 

Peterson pitched 6.2 innings with four strikeouts and five hits, retiring the side in order in the second, fourth and fifth innings. He singled in Sperbeck in the first inning for a 1-0 lead. Duarte came in on an error off the bat of Hunter Frisk to make the score 2-0.

“At the beginning of the game I was struggling to find the strike zone,” Peterson said. “But I eventually found the strike zone. I was able to make some adjustments.”

Peterson finished 2 for 4 with an RBI

East Union (4-3, 10-6) tied the game at 2-2 in the bottom of the first on a two-RBI double by Slaughter that scored Gyse Hulsebosch (2 for 4, two runs) and Brayden Hardcastle. Mason James blasted a three-RBI triple in the third inning to score Danny Marquez, Hulsebosch and Andrew Morones for a 5-2 lead. 


Weston Ranch 3, Lathrop 0

The Cougars put up three runs in the sixth inning for the VOL win. 

Larry Martinez and Manuel Rubio reached on errors for Weston Ranch (2-5 VOL, 11-8) in the sixth and C.J. Drain advanced both on a sacrifice bunt. Rylan Tinsley was intentionally walked to load the bases, setting the stage for Austin Cappas.

 Cappas belted a 1-2 offering back up the middle scoring Martinez and Rubio and when the ball was misplayed on the outfield Tinsley was able to make it all the way home. 

Tinsley went the distance on the hill, striking out six and allowing one hit.

“It was a better day today,” Cougars coach David Hager said. “We came out and acted like we wanted to be here.

“We played great defensively and Rylan Tinsley just carried us. He commanded the mound and he battled his butt off.” 

Aside from the sixth inning the game belonged to the pitchers.

“It was a pitcher’s duel and a great game to be a part of,” Spartans coach Randy Baltazar said. . “Both pitchers were attacking the zone. 

“No. 4 (Tinsley) did a great job keeping us guessing and in a close game the team that was going to win had to execute that’s what they did.  They got guys in scoring position and executed and had the big hit at the bottom of the sixth to go ahead.”

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