STOCKTON — Weston Ranch’s Anthony Faulk slammed the door on visiting Lathrop, retiring six of the last seven batters in a 12-9 non-conference win for the Cougars.
Lathrop needed just three hits to close a nine-run deficit to one during a miserable fifth inning for the Cougars. Faulk toed the rubber with one on base in the top of the sixth inning and went to work for his third save of the season.
“I just came in and did what I had to do,” Faulk said. “Throw strikes and get outs.
“That’s what it takes to be a closer.”
Clinging to that one-run lead in the bottom of the sixth, Amier Bowen laced an RBI double to plate Carlos Drain (two RBI, two runs) for the first of two insurance runs for Weston Ranch (5-2) in the frame. Bowen later scored on a single by David Baca (2 for 4, two RBI, run).
Bowen finished 3 for 3 with four RBI behind two doubles and a sacrifice fly, knocking in a run in each of his at-bats.
“I felt I was just swinging the bat good today,” Bowen said. “I felt good when I was up there. My team got on when they needed to and it was my job was just to get them over.”
Lathrop (0-4) sent 13 players to the plate in its eight-run fifth inning. Kiran Perilla (2 for 5, three RBI, two runs) picked up three RBI on two hits, and the Spartans got just one more hit — an RBI single by Elijah Bermudez (2 for 4, RBI, run). Walks accounted for the rest of the Lathrop runs.
“When you become complacent and you put yourself in front of the team with your at-bats, those things happen,” Cougars coach Dave Hager said. “We came out with our hearts on fire. We had great at-bats and did everything we were supposed to do and then we got complacent.
“We have to learn that for seven innings we have to grind out each pitch and each out. And when you take a pitch or an inning off these things happen. We gave up 10 walks today and you have to give credit to Lathrop because they knew we couldn’t find the zone, they were patient and they scored a great deal of runs that way.”
Weston Ranch racked up 14 hits with Isaiah Maxie (two doubles, run) and Austin Cappas (RBI, two runs) each going 2 for 4 with Ja’Darius Encalade getting a two-RBI double and scoring a run.
It was the Spartans who started the game with the error bug, committing three in the first inning and allowing five hits which helped Weston Ranch out to a 6-0 lead.
“We can’t show up to the ballpark and give people six runs,” Lathrop coach Chuck Garcia said. “That was a terrible start.
“But we did come back and show some heart, and as I have said before, we are a young team and every day we are learning something and today we got to see some heart.”