The dust had barely settled from Summerville’s 13-1 no-hit loss Tuesday to Sonora when Bears head coach Larry Gold had his players moving the batting cage from foul territory down the left field line to home plate.
“We knew it was gonna be tough,” Gold said. “We were limited on pitching. We’ve got guys nursing injuries and the lack of field time is showing. We knew they were a real good team coming in, but I was not pleased with our hitting.
“So, as you can see, we’ve already got our cage set up and we are hitting tomorrow. I want to be able to put the ball in play more than zero times, or two times or three times or whatever we had.”
Out of Summerville’s 20 plate appearances, there were eight balls put in play and four walks. Two balls were stung, but both turned into outs.
Clean-up hitter Bryce Farrell hit a rocket one-hopper headed for left field in the second inning, but was robbed when Wildcat shortstop Tyler Helm ranged far to his right and fired to first a half step faster than Farrell.
Two innings later, Sam Burns roped a lead-off line-drive to right field, but Sonora’s Tom Thomason moved a few feet, reached up and made the grab.
Summerville scratched across its run in the third. Jeff Grabow earned a one-out walk, he also walked in the sixth, and got to second and third on two wild pitches. The second was actually a strike out, but Sonora hurler Evan Estes’ wicked curveball bounced and went to the backstop allowing the batter to reach.
Grabow came home a couple of pitches later on a Preston Leslie fielder’s choice to make it 3-1 after three innings.
“Now that we’ve got some nice weather, they’re gonna spend their time in the cagetomorrow,” Gold said.
And while the 13 hits and 13 runs allowed are a lot in any game, the Wildcats didn’t exactly tear the cover off the ball. There was solid contact, but more often Sonora batters just had good at-bats and put the ball in play off Bear hurlers Farrell and Burns.
“I thought Bryce threw very well,” Gold said. “They got to him in the fourth inning when he got a little tired and had thrown over 70 pitches. But they didn’t hit him that hard.”
Farrell started and went the first 3 2/3 and Burns, a sophomore, hurled the last 2 1/3.
“Summerville has got some players and I think they will do well in league (Mother Lode),” said Wildcat head coach Scott Johnson. “With three games this week, we knew they would be a little thin on pitching and we knew if we could get through Bryce and get his pitch count up, we’d be in pretty good shape.
“But I thought the kid that came in second (Burns), threw really well. He threw strikes and kept us off balance and gave us some things to work on tomorrow at practice.”
“Hats off to Sammy,” Gold said. “He hasn’t pitched too much at the varsity level and he’s up here and he knows he’s gonna take his licks. And we wanted to put him up against a team like Sonora so he knows he can do it and he did a pretty good job. I wish we could have cut down on the number of pitches, but that will come. I thought he had good poise on the mound.”