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Mistakes mount for Lathrop in league opener
Charles Garcia is denied the run for Lathrop on a sacrifice fly as he is called out on the tag by Kimball catcher Cody Delbridge. - photo by JONAMAR JACINTO

TRACY — Failing to execute the little things loomed large Monday in Lathrop’s Valley Oak League opener against host Kimball at West High.

The Spartans had trouble getting bunts down in attempts to move runners over and tracking routine flyballs in the outfield. They also had two potential big-inning rallies thwarted by base-running miscues that led to double-play assists from Kimball outfielders.

It all culminated in a 10-3 loss, the sixth straight for Lathrop. Officially, the Spartans only committed one error with Carlos Estrada turning in a defensive gem at shortstop, but the outfield mistakes proved too much to overcome.

 “We harp on the little things and every little thing counts for us,” Lathrop coach Randy Baltazar said. “One little thing can have a snowball effect. We fielded the ball OK but it was our first step. That stuff we have to get better at. I don’t know if it’s just being at a field we’ve never played on.”

Kimball (1-2 VOL, 1-7 overall) snapped a six-game losing streak and will continue to host games at West until work on its outfield grass is completed. The tone was set early for both teams as the Jaguars jumped out to a 3-0 first-inning league. They took advantage of two misplayed fly balls that went for a two-run single for Trevor Trew (2 for 4) and an RBI double for Ryan King. King ended up with two doubles and two RBIs in a 3-for-4 effort.

Kimball pieced together another three-run rally in the fourth and a backbreaking four spot in the sixth.

Leadoff hitter Nate Hendrichs walked twice, plated two runs, dropped a sacrifice bunt and rapped a sixth-inning double for Kimball. Brennan Bowman was 3 for 4 (two runs, RBI), Jacob Barba finished 2 for 4 (two runs, two RBIs) and the Jaguars racked up 13 hits.

Lathrop was limited to six hits, while Kimball starter Peter Van Katwyk (four innings, three hits, three strikeouts) was able to pitch out of jams early on. The Spartans had runners reach third base in the second, third and fourth innings but only came up with one run to show for it. They ran into the final outs on the two double plays in the second and fourth, and one of those runners was thrown out at the plate after a late tag-up at third.

“It was a huge. It was a big momentum killer,” Baltazar said. “We ran ourselves out of innings. We failed to capitalize.”

Andrew Tapken (2 for 3) drove in Richard Chavez (two runs) with a single in the fourth. Lathrop struck for two more runs in the in the top of the sixth to close in 6-3.

Too little, too late.

“We showed signs that we can compete with Kimball but our bats aren’t where they’re supposed to be,” Baltazar said. “We just came on a little too late in getting runs across. Hopefully on Thursday we’ll be able to cash in with runs.”



Sierra 16, Mira Loma 4

The Timberwolves (7-2) roll into today’s VOL opener with Sonora with a six-game winning streak.

Saturday’s victory against the visiting Matadors (6-3) of Sacramento also marked their sixth straight contest with at least 10 runs. Sierra needed only one inning to continue that streak, scoring 11 in the bottom of the first while sending 14 batters to the plate.

Jake Pruitt (home run, three RBIs), Leo Soto (three RBIs) and Ryan Vasquez were all 2 for 2. Dakota Conners was 2 for 3 with a double and four RBIs. Blake Sundquist was 2 for 4.

Starting pitcher Kyle Oden logged three hitless innings and struck out five.