It was a day of missed opportunities and violent gusty winds.
Sierra and visiting East Union combined to strand 13 runners in scoring position with the Lancers finding a way to get some runs across in a 5-0 Valley Oak League baseball win at Jack Thomson Field.
“We just couldn’t get started,” East Union coach Carlos Herrera said. “It was like we were running in sand and then we made some mistakes on the bases but (starting pitcher) Bennie (Slaughter) was amazing. He had every opportunity to implode but he fought through it every time.
“He had the bases loaded once, runners at second and third once — and every time he found a way. I don’t know what he ate for breakfast but I hope he keeps eating it because he did outstanding today. I couldn’t be more proud of him.”
Slaughter sprinkled four hits over five innings with four strikeouts, pitching out of a one-out, bases-loaded jam in the fifth as well as a runner on third with one out in the fourth and a runner at second with one out in the second.
“I started great but got a little rocky,” Slaughter said. “And my defense was there to help me out the whole time.”
The Lancers (11-3 VOL, 12-3 overall) got on board in the first, sixth and seventh innings. Willie Segura doubled to start the game, took third on Jacob Toste’s sacrifice bunt attempt that turned into a single and came home on an error off the bat of Austin Orr (2 for 3, home run, two RBI) for a 1-0 lead.
Ashton Heath doubled to start the East Union sixth, went to third on a groundout and scooted home on a wild pitch to make the score 2-0.
Orr slammed the door shut with a leadoff home run in the seventh. Mateo Guevara then walked and scored from first on an error that left Carlos Alvarez on third. Anthony Flores plated Alvarez with a sacrifice fly to round out the scoring.
“I was looking for one inside and low,” Orr said. “And I wanted to drive it into the wind and over the fence and that’s what I did.”
The Timberwolves (8-7) stranded runners six innings in a row and got a runner on board every inning.
“Three innings in a row we didn’t need a hit,” coach Travis Thomson said. “We just needed the ball in play — a ground ball to short, a fly ball to the outfield. I want to say three or four innings we had a runner on third with one out and could not get it done. We had chances. We certainly had chances. That’s all we can ask for and we just have to get a little bit better at that.
“Credit East Union. They played a great game.”
The Sierra defense stepped up in the fourth inning. East Union had loaded the bases when Segura hit a screaming line drive to right center. Center fielder Austin Frisk somehow chased the ball down to make the catch and got the ball into the infield where Jakob Lopez relayed it to Angel Valdez for a double play at second.
“That was a big play,” Thomson said of the fourth-inning double play. “The ball was struck rally hard and Austin Frisk was sprinting from his first step to his last and you kind of knew he was going to make the play.
“It was a big play. It kept us in it. We had a couple of big plays to get us out of innings. We pitched and played all-right defense. We just couldn’t get it done at the plate.”
Jackson Brunn was 2 for 2 with a double and a sacrifice bunt for the Timberwolves.