Lathrop’s Keenan Donatelli pitched an outstanding game for six innings Wednesday against host East Union, but things fell apart in the seventh inning of the Valley Oak League contest at Agostini Field.
With the score tied in the bottom of the seventh, Donatelli hit two Lancers batters and walked one to load the bases with one out. Donatelli left the game and then Joe Bothelio drew a bases-loaded walk to end the game for a 4-3 Lancers win.
“That was very, very tough,” Spartans coach Randy Baltazar said. “Keenan was high in his pitch count and then hitting two batters you figure you need to go somewhere else.
“He pitched a heck of a game and the kids played hard, but it just didn’t go our way this time.”
East Union coach Dan Triglia appreciated Donatelli’s effort which included seven strikeouts and six hits.
“I thought we would be able to put the ball in play a little more,” Triglia said. “They did a fantastic job of keeping us off balance. They would get us with a strike on the fastball and then get us with the off-speed stuff, I am not sure we really figured out the pattern there. We need to make some adjustments at the plate to have better at-bats.”
The Lancers (3-4 VOL, 4-13) had an ace on the hill themselves in Marco Gonzales who struck out 10 and allowed six hits.
“He (Gonzales) got stronger,” Triglia said. “He’s a strong, strong kid. I would like to see him throw a few less pitches, but he got stronger as the game went on.
“I believe he had 10 strikeouts and that helps our defense out a lot.”
Lathrop (0-7, 3-12) left a runner on third to end the sixth inning, but Gonzales struck out the side in the seventh to slam the door on the Spartans.
“We knew from the start that we couldn’t just look at their record and thing we were going to walk all over them,” Gonzales said. “These guys came out and they played.
“I knew in the seventh inning as soon as I left the dugout I was going to just pump fast balls in.”
Each team had an outstanding play on defense. East Union had two runners on and two out in the sixth when Joe Souza lined what looked like a run-scoring double down the third-base line. Johnny McCuaig squelched that threat, leaping to pluck the line drive out of the air and end the inning.
In the third inning with one run across for the Spartans, David Gonzalez tried to get from first to third on Donatelli’s single to right. Matt McGehee quickly got the ball in to second baseman Johnny Blackwell who relayed to Kyle Emerson at third to get Gonzalez.
“We needed that out,” Blackwell said of his shot to Emerson at third. “If they would have scored that run it would have been a whole different ball game.”
Blackwell led off the Lancers four-run fourth with a double and came in to score on Emerson’s single.
“I knew this kid (Donatelli) throws a lot of off-speed stuff,” Blackwell said. “And I knew if I got down in the count he was going to try to throw me off-speed so I jumped first-pitch fast ball and it worked out.”
Donatelli was 2 for 3 with an RBI as was teammate Armondo Perez (adouble).