STOCKTON — Weston Ranch’s Amier Bowen took to the mound in the sixth inning Tuesday and stopped the McNair onslaught dead in its tracks. Unfortunately, the Cougars could not quite dig themselves out of a hole and lost 11-10 non-league baseball contest at Weston Ranch.
“I just went out there and threw strikes,” Bowen said. “That’s what I’m supposed to do.
“And my team was there for me on defense when I needed them.”
Bowen stepped onto the bump with no outs in the top of the sixth with two on and McNair (1-4) leading 11-7. He induced a double play on his first pitch and a strikeout looking to end the frame. The Cougars junior had a 1-2-3 seventh inning with a groundout and two strikeouts. Seven of his last eight pitches were strikes.
“Amier is going in a good direction,” Hager said. “When he gets on the mound he has confidence, he works downhill and he pops strikes. When he does that he has a little velocity and he’s hard to hit. He didn’t have to show a secondary pitch – he just threw. Maybe we should have started him – who knew?
“One of his greatest attributes about him is consistency. He knows how to compete and he is not afraid to compete. Obviously, we were missing that in some of our other kids.”
Jadarius Encalade went 2 for 4 with a run for Weston Ranch (3-2-2), and both of his hits were bunts he beat out for infield singles.
“We were down by a lot,” Encalade said. “I was just doing anything I could to get on base.”
Isaac Espino led off the bottom of the seventh with a single followed by a towering fly ball to the right-field fence for a double by Ryan Tinsley, giving the Cougars runners at second and third with no out while trailing 11-9. Anthony Aguilar knocked in Espino but that was as close as Weston Ranch would get.
Bowen reached base three times, belting a double and scoring two runs. Teammate Carlos Drain also reached base three times and scored twice with a double, but he added a pair of RBI. Austin Cappas was 2 for 5 with a double.
The game reeked of early season baseball with both teams combining for 10 errors and two balks.
“It was a rough game,” Eagles coach Henry Sanchez said. “We have a lot of inexperienced kids as most of my guys have never played baseball at all before high school. Of the 11 kids I have, five or six didn’t even play last year. It’s a struggle but it’s a fun struggle.”
“This was two evenly matched teams going at it. I guess it was maybe about who wanted it a little bit more. It’s not always talent that wins games.”