Raiders shutout Estancia
By Erik Markus
La Habra Journal
The Raiders took advantage of poor infield defense, putting up seven runs in the first three innings.
“You guys have to be solid in the playoffs, in all aspects of the game, defense has to be solid, you have to execute at the plate, and you have to make good pitches,” Sonora head coach Pat Tellers said about a conversation to his team before the game.
Wilem Drozdowski led off the second inning with a walk, he moved over to second on a single by Jacob Baltierrez. Jason Clayton then followed with a one out single to load the bases.
With the bases loaded, Max Wilkinson slapped the ball into right field, scoring two. The Raiders kept the inning rolling with a sacrifice fly from Dylan Villalobos, deep enough to score the speedy centerfielder Clayton from third.
In the third inning, Mehial Nazaroff led off the inning with a grounder, but ended up standing on second as the throw to first sailed over the head of the Estancia first baseman.
Drozdowski again had the bat taken from him, walking for his second time to put two runners on.
With Baltierrez showing bunt, both Estancia corner infielders ran up to field the bunt, but Baltierrez quickly spapped a single up the middle to score Nazaroff from second.
“He puts the ball in play with everyone moving, they changed their bunt coverage, and we just happened to make the right call,” Tellers said.
In an attempt to simply move runners to second and third, Dominic Morales dropped down a bunt back to the pitcher. Estancia tried to get Drozdowski at third, but threw the ball into left field, allowing him to come home. Clayton took first on a hit by pitch, then added another run on a double play from Wilkinson. Villalobos capped the inning off with another run scoring single.
“You’ve got to put the ball on the ground, make them make plays,” Tellers said.
With a 7-0 lead, the Raiders focused their attention to defense, behind Matt Schmidt.
Tellers knew he could lean on his senior in this game, with memories from his tournament excellence.
“He’s the senior, he’s been there before,” Tellers, “we’ve got to go with him, the way he performed in tounament atmosphere, it’s a good thing to have.”
The Raiders got seven strong innings of shutout baseball by senior Schmidt. Schmidt dominated the Estancia Eagles forcing his opponents to pound the ball into the ground.
“It makes you feel more comfortable up there, pitching to contact,” Schmidt said.
Unlike their opponents however, the Raiders played clean baseball behind Schmidt as they cruised to a decisive victory.
The game was never in doubt as the Raiders added one more in the eighth.
The Raiders took a gamble by saving Dylan Villalobos who has pitched well against many of their tough opponents.
“It’s a chance you’ve got to take. You’ve got to win with your other guys on the mound,” Tellers said.
Tellers intends to use Villalobos in their game on Thursday, as they look to upset Kaiser.
“You’ve got to go out on the road and win another one, stranger things have happened,” Tellers said with his focus turning to Kaiser.