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Six errors stump East Union in all-out slugfest against Tracy
East Union’s Ryan Fisher follows through as he slugs an RBI double to deep center field. - photo by JONAMAR JACINTO/The Bulletin
TRACY — Tracy High head coach Vic Alkire said Wednesday’s anticipated showdown with East Union, “started off like a city league softball game,” with both teams taking turns walloping away in the early innings.

But at the end, East Union skipper Dan Triglia was stressing defense after his Lancers blew a 7-3 lead no thanks to six errors in a 13-8 loss, their first of the season.

East Union starting pitcher Frank Bailey was forced to throw 75 pitches in his 3 1/3 innings on the mound, and only four of the nine runs he yielded were earned. The Lancers’ three hurlers struggled in locating their pitches, totaling a combined eight walks and five hit batsmen.

“Two games in a row now we’ve kind of booted it around and gave teams some extra outs and extra at-bats,” said Triglia, whose team squeaked past Lodi 4-3 Tuesday despite five errors. “You’re asking a lot of your pitchers, especially against a team like Tracy that hits the ball and puts the ball in play really well.

“I’m really impressed with how they hit the ball, and we can’t give them those extra at-bats because they come back to bite you.”

East Union (5-1) was doing the biting at the start, as clean-up hitter Garrett Fisher crushed a double and a home run, both to deep center, for four RBIs in his first two at-bats. He finished 2 for 4 with two runs.

The Bulldogs (6-2) stayed within striking distance in the bottom of the second when Kyle Hassna’s two-run double closed them in, 7-5.

Johnathan Shepherd drove in Fisher (reached on error) in the fourth for East Union’s final run, but Tracy reliever Alex Flores was able to work out of threats the rest of the way to earn the win.

Flores allowed four hits and two walks while striking out three in 4 1/3 innings before getting replaced by standout sophomore Kyle Moses.

“The big key was Flores coming in and just settling everything down,” Alkire said. “We were getting the ball up too high early, and East Union, we knew from last year the stretch they had toward the end that they can hit.

“We were elevating the ball, and boy they were just teeing off. Flores came in and pitched around the knees and did a really nice job.”

Tracy plated four runs in the fourth to take the lead, 9-8, for good. Ricky Diaz highlighted the Bulldogs’ two-run fifth with an RBI triple, and they were able to score two more in the sixth on a pick-off attempt that turned into a two-error sequence.

Steven Weddington set the table early on for East Union from the top of the order, finishing 2 for 5 with two runs. Marshall Swift added his own 2-for-5 effort that included a run and an RBI. Ryan Sage was 2 for 3.

East Union ends its non-league schedule and exhausting four-games-in-five-days stretch Friday against Tokay of Lodi at Stockton’s Billy Hebert Field.

 “We knew this was going to be a difficult week because of the number of games and the teams that we’re playing,” Triglia said. “It’s very good preparation for us for league. Day in and day out we’re going to be challenged — we have to be ready for a very competitive Valley Oak League.

“Playing Tracy is always a good game, always a battle. We try to measure ourselves by how we play against them; we just didn’t play a full seven today.”