Lodi put up four runs in the first frame Friday and retired East Union in order in four innings on the way to a 6-2 non-league baseball win at Agostini Field.
“We hit the ball well in that first inning,” Lodi coach Hobie Schultz said. “We threw strikes and played defense behind our pitchers. That’s the key.”
Four walks and a hit batter yielded the four first-inning runs for Lodi (1-0). Back-to-back doubles in the fourth inning by Colton Smithhardt (2 for 4, double, two runs) and Angelo Zazzarino (double, RBI) led to the other two Flames runs.
In the first and fourth innings — the innings that Lodi scored all of its runs — the Lancers (0-1) walked a total of five batters and hit two.
“You just can’t walk guys,” East Union coach Gene Ballardo said. “And their pitchers did a good job getting ahead of our batters. We have to have a better approach at the plate. We will work on that and hopefully clean it up a bit.”
The Lancers benefitted from walks themselves. Four of the first five East Union batters in the second inning — Andrew Morones, Jaydin Alvarez, Evan Heath and Fernando Segura — walked with Segura walking in Morones and Alvarez scooting home on a passed ball.
East Union did not get a hit until the seventh inning when Samuel Nieves laced a pinch-hit bloop single, getting Segura to second with one out. The next two Lancers batters were retired to end the threat and the game.
Morones made a spectacular play in the third inning to help keep the Flames from padding their lead. With runners at first and second with no out, Morones made a diving catch on a sharp grounder at first, getting the first out of the frame and limiting the base runners to 90 feet each. East Union retired the next two batters to leave the two runners stranded in scoring position, two of 12 runners Lodi left on the bases.
“He (Morones) laid out to his right and made a good play,” Ballardo said. “They had a couple of guys on and that limited the damage.
“Defensively we are sound. It was the beginning of the game, that first inning, that got us. We got behind and we battled back and got two runs but we have to hit the ball.”
Sierra 5, Atwater 2
In Atwater, Jesse Ortiz-Martinez gave the Timberwolves (2-0-1) some breathing room with an opposite-field two-run double. He finished 3 for 4, as did Tyler Kiser. Louis Aquila went 2 for 3 with a double and a RBI.
Jason Silva struck out four and gave up an unearned run in his three-inning start on the mound. Slyder Blyth pitched the next three in relief, and Jacob Frisk registered the save.
“Overall, it was a good game for us,” Sierra coach Travis Thomson said. “Our pitchers did especially good attacking hitters and keeping the from driving the ball. It was nice to see them overcome some obstacles on the mound and continue to have success.
"Situations never got too big for our guys today. It was promising to see when we play a great team like Atwater who is well coached and plays the game the right way.”
Sierra 14, Atwater 2
Sonny Elder drilled a double and a triple, drove in three runs and finished 2 for 4 for Sierra, which won the non-league affair in five innings.
Jakob Lopez was the winning pitcher. Brendan Rapisura batted 2 or 2.