Sports

Heralds miscues lead to loss to Maranatha

IMG_0472by Nathan Percy
La Habra Journal

PASADENA – It was a rough night for Heralds infielders, who committed four errors and allowed three unearned runs in a 4-1 loss to Maranatha, Thursday night at Jackie Robinson Field.

The Minutemen scored two runs in the first inning on a throwing error and maintained the lead with help from pitcher Walter Harris, who relieved starter Jeffrey Oki in the second inning and provided 4-and-one-thirds innings of relief.

“He said he felt something in his forearm and we went out as a precaution, so he’s going to see a doctor,” said Matt Schupper, Maranatha head coach. “We were expecting Oki to pitch six or seven innings tonight. Thankfully Walter was rested, he’s just been a horse for us all season and has developed into one of the best pitchers in this league. I was impressed with him tonight.”

Oki, Maranatha’s top pitcher, left before the second inning when he felt discomfort in his right forearm while throwing warm-up tosses.

Harris held the Heralds to one run on two hits and kept his pitch count down, throwing no more than 14 pitches in any inning.

For the Heralds, starting pitcher Mike Rafter battled, throwing 110 pitches in five innings of work. He was charged with four runs, one of them earned, on six hits while striking out six batters, walking three and hitting two.

“Knowing that Rafter and Oki were going at it tonight, we knew it was going to be a low-scoring game, so the focus was to push a run across the board any way we could,” said Brent Lavoie, Whittier Christian head coach. “The opportunities were there, we just couldn’t get that timely hit. Tip of the cap to Harris, he probably wasn’t expecting to play today, but he did his job.”

But what plagued the Heralds was throwing errors. After leading off the bottom of the first inning with back-to-back singles and pulling off a double steal, the Minutemen plated two runs when a throw from third baseman Joseph Cobian bounced over the glove of Dakota Veltkamp at first base.

After the Heralds got on the board in the top of the fifth inning, Maranatha’s Mike Heefner brought home a run with a single. An error by shortstop Mike Rubio brought home the fourth run later in the inning.

“It’s got to get cleaned up, it’s been hurting us and it has snake-bitten us a few times,” Lavoie said of the errors. “We address it, we work on it, but the bottom line is guys have to make plays.”

Whittier Christian manufactured its run in the fifth inning. Cooper Hughes reached on an infield single and made it to third base on a wild pitch by Harris before coming home after an error committed by shortstop Zach Schradermier.

The Minutemen left 10 runners on base and stranded multiple base runners in four innings.

The Heralds have another big series coming up against Village Christian next week. Whittier Christian will host the Crusaders on Tuesday and travel to Village Christian on Thursday.

Village Christian won the first matchup 6-0 at Whittier Christian High.

“There are huge implications in the league right away, there’s no time to feel sorry for yourselves,” Lavoie said. “We have to get back on the horse and it’s going to buck a little bit. It’ll be more about mental preparation and we have some work to do on the defensive end, that’s pretty evident.”

Started in 1995, the La Habra Journal is an independent community news source serving the cities of La Habra and La Habra Heights.