LATHROP – It took Dylan DeBrouwer’s sixth-inning home run for Sierra High to gain control of the Lathrop Spartans, and the Timberwolves would not relinquish, riding a dominant relief effort from Caleb Young to a 6-4 Valley Oak League victory.
Sierra trailed 4-1 going into the fifth inning, but responded with a three-run fifth, thanks to a timely two-out, two-RBI single from Jason Angelo. Angelo’s hit incited an otherwise docile Timberwolves dugout, and set the Timberwolves’ comeback in motion.
“Both of those guys got clutch hits, but I think Jason’s may have been even bigger,” Sierra head coach Jack Thomson said. “We didn’t play well, and that is the bottom line. We are better than what we played today.
“But hats off to Lathrop, they are scrappy and Randy (Baltazar) does a great job coaching over there.”
The Spartans did everything in their power to look the part of the more dominant team. Starter Oscar Calix did a great job of keeping the Sierra bats off balance and Lathrop had no problem getting runners on and in scoring position offensively through the first four innings.
Lathrop scratched across two in the first to take the early lead when Gabriel Castellanos and Pablo Chavez drove in runs with a single and RBI groundout, respectively. Lathrop would scratch across two more in the third for a commanding 4-1 lead, but that would be the final run for the Spartans.
Sierra was able to plate three runs in the fifth, tying things up at 4-4. The two squads would be deadlocked at four until DeBrouwer worked his two-out Magic. The starting shortstop turned on an inside fastball and promptly deposited it just over the left field line. The ball was crushed and traveled on a straight line up out of the yard directly in leftfield.
The Spartans would have no answer for relief pitcher Young, who worked four innings of hitless ball, sitting the Spartans down in order in each inning he worked in relief of Rodrigo Contreras. Young struck out four and only allowed one pitch, a flyball out to right, to get out of the infield.
“I just wanted to come in and pitch well for my team,” Young said. “We were struggling a little bit and the defense was there for me when I needed it.
“I took us a while to get going, so those first couple of innings were definitely scary.”
The Spartans realistically came as close as they have ever been to opening VOL play with a win, but the victory obviously wasn’t meant to be for Lathrop. After jumping on Contreras early, Lathrop garnered not success in the final two innings.
“I felt that our mentality and out approach for this game was our best approach,” Baltazar said. “Everybody was being positive and everybody was excited for this game. Whenever you play against a local we have to have that mentality.
“It hurts to lose a close game, but it’s definitely growing pains.”
Chavez, Calix and Castellanos all got one hit, while sophomore Mikey Perezegron was 2-for-4 in the win. DeBrouwer got the homerun and a single, while Pereznegron added a pair of hits. Sierra’s Angelo also added another hit prior to his game-tying RBI hit in the fifth.