Even with a nine-run rally in the sixth inning at home, Yosemite High School (6-4, 0-4 North Sequoia League) was unable to get its first league victory earlier this week, falling to Chowchilla High School (6-7, 2-2 NSL) 10-9.
“We were down by six, but came back, fought, and I’m proud of the way the guys battled,” said Head Coach JD Burnett. “Unfortunately we couldn’t close it out. We need to learn to just keep battling so we can stay in the game and have a chance in the end.”
Up until the sixth during Monday’s game, it appeared clear the Tribe would easily notch their second league win. Working against Yosemite’s starting right hand pitcher Evan Prater, a junior, Chowchilla scored two innings in the first, another in the second and third, and two more in the fifth to take a 6-0 lead on 10 hits.
But in the bottom of the sixth, the Badger bats came alive against Chowchilla’s starting pitcher Peyton Kragie.
Sophomore Jaeden Pierce began the inning by knocking a single into right field, followed by a single from senior Frankie Lemos who outran a double play as Pierce was thrown out at second. Chris Ward, another sophomore on the young Badger team, singled, followed by a single from junior Austin Burgeno to load the bases with one out.
Kragie walked senior catcher Brenden Gillaspy to score Lemos from third, leading to his replacement by right hander Logan Gomes. But Gomes appeared nervous about the loaded bases, as he walked senior Tanner Bonillas on four pitches for a run, threw a missed pitch to score Burgeno on a steal from third, then threw another pitch past his catcher to score Gillaspy.
Gomes then walked Prater to put Bonillas on third base, leading to an RBI for Caleb Eicholz as he blasted a hard single to left field for the run.
After giving up five runs, and with the Badgers momentum building on only one out and two on base, Gomes was pulled for senior right hander Mason Musick.
Though Musick lasted the rest of the inning, he also had difficulty against the calculating Badgers offense. After he loaded the bases by walking sophomore Tyler Matyshock, Yosemite went for a squeeze play with Pierce back in the box.
Pierce knocked a short ball down the third baseline that caused two Chowchilla players to simultaneously grab for the ball. Pierce, meanwhile, charged to first and outran the throw while Prater scored, tying the game at 6-6.
Another walk gave Yosemite the lead at 7-6, and Burgeno later knocked a fly ball into right field that Kragie, now playing right field, missed on a sliding catch, scoring two more runners for a 9-6 Badger lead.
Things appeared strong for the Badgers, but Chowchilla rallied back in the top of the seventh to score four runs, one from Prater and three from Pierce who was called in for relief. The Badgers were unable to find a score in the bottom of the seventh, ending the game at 10-9.
“We had a little gut check there, but we found a way to battle and get some runs across the plate,” Chowchilla Head Coach Shawn Grissom said. “Yosemite is always a good team though. They battle, and they’re tough. They do a good job up here, no question. There’s no free lunches up here.”
The Badgers will go on the road Thursday to face Washington Union (5-8, 1-3 NSL), then face Liberty-Madera Ranchos (7-3, 4-0 NSL) twice next week, at home on Monday and on the road Thursday. All games start at 4 p.m.