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Sierra remains optimistic after season-opening loss to Laguna Creek
Laguna Creek-Sierra baseball
Sierra center fielder Troy Morrow makes the catch on the run to rob Laguna Creek’s Chris Deluca of a base hit at the top of the second inning. - photo by Wayne Thallander

Sierra is remaining positive after starting its season with an 11-0 five-inning loss to visiting Laguna Creek on Wednesday.

“It can only go up from here, right?” Troy Morrow said.

The senior center fielder provided some of the few highlights for the Timberwolves, who were down 8-0 before making their first plate appearances.

Laguna Creek No. 3 hitter Brandon Low had two hits and three RBIs in the first inning, when the Cardinals (3-0) of Elk Grove — coached by 2011 Ripon High grad Zach Evans — sent 13 batters to the plate.

“When you give up an eight spot, it takes the wind out of your lungs, but we had a runner at second in the first three innings,” Sierra coach Travis Thomson said. “Guys are fighting for spots and playing time, so even in a game like this you see guys who are going to do things in tough moments and not give up when we’re losing, 10-0.”

Laguna Creek-Sierra baseball
Collins Schluer delivers the pitch for Sierra in its season opener against visiting Laguna Creek on Wednesday.

Collins Schluer was among the players who left a positive mark. One of three lefty pitchers Sierra used, the junior was solid in 3 1/3 innings and made a heads-up play on defense in the final inning. He entered the game in relief with two outs and the bases loaded in the first inning.  Schluer gave up three runs (two earned) on four hits and struck out four.

“He threw with confidence,” Thomson said. “It’s gotta be scary when you come in with bases loaded, but he threw his fastball with confidence today. You can tell that ball is running and moving. Those great hitters didn’t do much damage off of him.”

Josh Seals closed for the T’wolves and faced three hitters in the fifth inning but was aided by a big defensive play involving both Morrow and Schluer. Laguna Creek clean-up batter Ty Collum blasted a 2-0 offering to the fence in left-center field for his second double of the day, but he was tagged out at second after rounding the bag. Morrow hit shortstop Druw Navarro on the relay throw, and Schluer — coming from his position at first base — backed up the middle infielder at second base to apply the tag.

“As a positive, we made most of our routine plays, and there were some defensive plays that really got us out of difficult predicaments,” Morrow said. He earlier made a nice catch on the run for the first out of the second inning, and the infield turned a 4-6-3 double play to end Laguna Creek’s rally in the third.

Offensively, Sierra was held to five hits but had multiple runners on base in the each of the first three innings. Rudy Barney legged out a bloop double in the second inning. Angel Valdez, Travis Boyd, Navarro and Morrow each hit a single.

Winning pitcher Jacob Halseth fired six strikeouts and gave up five hits and no walks over four innings. Dom Rivera then struck out two in his perfect fifth inning.

Laguna Creek totaled 12 base hits, getting two apiece from Nate Ira (2 for 4, double, run), Leo Li (2 for 3, run, RBI), Collum (2 for 4, run), Halseth (2 for 2, run, RBI, HBP) and Low (2 for 2, HBP, three RBIs). No. 9 hitter Quincy Bootay slugged a towering solo homer in the fourth inning.

“We have plenty of things we can improve on, but that’s why we’re playing these good teams, to see what we have to fix so that we can be ready for league,” Morrow said.

Sierra will look to bounce back this weekend in Sonoma County with two games scheduled against Windsor on Friday (3 p.m.) and Saturday (10 a.m.).