STOCKTON – Carlos Drain, Jordan Severin and Josh Dilg strung three hits in a row together in the top of the seventh inning for Weston Ranch to break a tie with host Edison, and C.J. Drain picked off a Vikings base runner in the bottom of the frame to help the Cougars return home with a 3-2 win in non-league action on Friday.
“It’s always tough for us to play when we don’t have school, for whatever reason,” Weston Ranch coach Dave Hager said. “Probably because we get out of our routine and we are creatures of habit. I thought we came out today a little lethargic, a little less than enthused. But what I am proud of is we persevered the whole game. We ended up making the plays when we needed to make the plays and getting the big hits when we needed the big hits. Josh Dilg came up huge and crushed that ball to center to get two in – but we lost one due to missing a base.
“What I am proud of is Ryan Ostertag came out and threw strikes and did his job for three innings. And then in the sixth C.J. (Drain) came in and threw strikes, and at the end of the day if you throw strikes and take care of the ball you are going to be a good team.”
With one out in the sixth, Carlos Drain and Severin snuck grounders between short and third to give Weston Ranch (10-1) runners at first and second with one out. Dilg then blasted the first pitch he saw to deep center that appeared to plate Carlos Drain and Severin, but Severin was ruled to miss third and was called out.
“I was kind of struggling in my at-bats at the beginning of the day,” Dilg said. “I just had to keep confident and stay aggressive.
“When I go up there I try and be ready and he threw a first-pitch fast ball for that triple.”
C.J. Drain took the mound in the sixth and retired the side in order. He struck out the first batter he faced in the seventh and looked like he had a groundout to the second batter of the inning but in a bang-bang play at first base Joaquin Escobar beat out an infield hit. Escobar stole second but was caught off the bag and C.J. Drain picked him off.
“When I stepped on I stepped right off,” C.J. Drain said of the pickoff play. “I tried to do it sneaky. I looked back and he wasn’t paying attention so I just picked him off.”
Leadoff batter Manuel Rubio has been hot for Weston Ranch and remained so Friday, reaching base four times. He went 2 for 3 with an RBI, run and a walk. He scored his run for a 1-0 lead in the third inning when he was singled in by C.J. Drain (2 for 4, RBI).
“I have been working on keeping my hands back while hitting,” Rubio said. “All the other games I have been hitting pretty well and I tried to do the same thing today.”
Ostertag started on the mound for the Cougars and threw three shutout innings, setting the Vikings (0-8) down in order in the first and third innings.
“I felt pretty good out there,” Ostertag said. “Because I knew I could trust the defense and I just left it to them.”
Weston Ranch 12,
Edison 2 (5)
The host Cougars had a five-run second inning on the way to their five-inning, mercy rule win on Thursday.
“We are starting to figure it out that if we take care of the baseball, have high quality unselfish at-bats and throw strikes then we are a good team,” Hager said.
“Guys have bought into the system that we have put in and being successful with it.”
Rubio was 2 for 2 with two RBI, two runs and a pair of walks. C.J. Drain went 2 for 3 with a double and two runs, Carlos Drain was 2 for 4 with two RBI and Dilg went 2 for 4 went a pair of RBI. Severin and Raymond Acosto each doubled to round out the Cougars attack.
Chavez-Stockton 2 (6)
The host Spartans (3-3-1) exploded for seven runs in the sixth inning Friday for the walk-off win due to the mercy rule in non-league action.
“We are very pleased how we swung the bat and how we played through some tough defensive outings,” Lathrop coach Randy Baltazar said, “They got one early when we booted the ball and we could have folded but our guys supported each other and kept their composure.
“We open up league at Weston Ranch on Wednesday and I know that both teams will be ready to play.”
The Spartans had big hits in the sixth inning from Brian Baltazar with a two-RBI triple and Jordan Sharifnejad (3 for 4, double, two RBI) with an RBI double. Keenan Donatelli (2 for 4, RBI, two runs) and Johnny McCuiag added RBI singles in the frame and Santiago Kantun had an RBI on a sacrifice fly.