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East Union holds on to beat Stagg
East Union’s Ricky Inderbitzin rounds third base on his way home during the Lancers’ non-league win over Stagg High Thursday. - photo by HIME ROMERO
After breaking the game open with a seven-run third inning, East Union was forced to close out a close one, halting Stagg’s comeback with the tying run at the plate in an 11-9 Lancers win over the Delta Kings Thursday.

Brett Riley struck out Stagg’s Phillip Clark with two runners on to preserve East Union’s non-league win. Riley came on in the seventh, striking out the first batter he faced before handing Stagg two free passes. He would settle down, blowing a letter-high fastball by Riley for his first save.

The Lancers (2-3) came out aggressive, answering a first-inning run from Stagg with a pair of runs in the first and another in the second. Things really got rolling in the third, as East Union sent 12 batters to the plate, connecting for four consecutive hits, including back-to-back doubles followed by a single and then a Jordan Kron 2-run home run.

East Union’s 10-1 lead had all the makings of being safe, but the Lancers did everything in their power to keep Stagg around. Starting pitcher Steven Gigli nailed the first two batters of the fourth, kicking off a Stagg rally that wouldn’t end until East Union’s seven-run inning had been matched.

“It wasn’t so much that I was upset, I just wanted the guys to refocus,” East Union head coach Dan Triglia said. “Because it went from a 10-1 game to basically a 2-0 game. We needed to refocus, but we couldn’t change that inning.

“I told them that the team that played the best from that point on would win the ballgame.”

East Union clearly did that, holding Stagg to a single run the rest of the way and adding a much-needed insurance run in the bottom half of the sixth when Joe Modesto led off the inning with a single and came around to score on a errant pickoff throw to third base.

Offensively, East Union had a solid performance racking up 14 hits, including five extra-base hits. The Lancers did all of the little things a team has to do to win, yet a lackluster inning like their fourth can prove costly in Valley Oak League action.

“I thought our execution was outstanding,” Triglia said. “We did exactly what we needed to do. We had the sac bunts, we had guys moving runners over, we had aggressive but smart base running. We came up with some big hits and we really have not been hitting the ball all that well.

“This was a good sign for us going into league.”

John Ott paced the Lancers, going 3 for 3 with two doubles and a single, while Modesto banged out a pair of singles to go along with two walks. Justin Dias added a single, a sacrifice fly and swiped a base in the win. Ricky Inderbitzin went 2 for 3 with a double, a single and two RBIs, while Frank Costa went 2 for 3 with a RBI and a run scored.

The Lancers will open up the VOL schedule their next time out, playing host to the Manteca Buffaloes. Manteca got off to a 2-0 league start with two easy wins over Lathrop High, but will likely see a stiffer challenge out of the Lancers.

“This one definitely gives us a boost of confidence,” Riley said. “We hit a lot better than we have in previous games, and I think that will do a lot for our confidence heading into the Manteca series.”