Christian Stubbs trying to keep the Rustlers at bay (Sean Byrne)
A tough loss at home for the Gauchos this past Thursday when they went up against the Golden West College Rustlers.
A game that started off solid for the Gauchos, ended up with many obvious mistakes according to Coach Sommer McCartney.
“[There were] too many errors today, it was tough” McCartney said.
The game started out in what seemed to be like another gem thrown by the Gauchos top pitcher, Evan Manarino. Throughout the first six innings Manarino only gave up two hits and a single run. Meanwhile, the Gauchos started to put numerous points on the board despite a slow start. The Gauchos started to put it in gear and play a productive offensive game in the fourth and fifth innings.
Even though Golden West was the first team to draw blood by scoring in the fourth inning, the Gauchos were quick to respond by scoring that same inning. By taking that momentum into the next inning, they took the lead with a single up the middle from Jeff Butler, scoring Cody Schmitz, who got on base from a single to the left side only to advance to second from a wild pitch.
With Butler stealing second then advancing to third from another wild pitch, the Gauchos were on the verge of advancing their lead even more. With Josh Fuentes up to bat he takes advantage of the easy scoring position and manages to hit a sacrifice fly to right field, thus driving home the run and increasing to the score to 3-1.
The Rustlers didn’t get a point on the board again until the seventh inning and the Gaucho defense started to slip. The comeback started with Nicolas Mars of Golden West College singling to left field. The Rustlers then brought out Steve Pascua to pinch run for Mars, with a wild pitch by Manarino this allowed Pascua to advance to second base and in scoring position.
Next up was Soloman Williams, who hit a single and brought home Pascua, but with an error in right field allowed Williams to advance his single to a triple. Then Kyle Jones laid down a perfect sacrifice bunt, Williams rushed the plate tying the game.
With a rough inning, the Gauchos got right back to playing aggressively. Schmitz started off this bounce back inning with a walk. Slate Miller came out and helped drive Schmitz home, with a throwing error by the third baseman. The next two batters up were walked (Butler and Josh Fuentes), so that left the bases loaded for Noah Graham. Graham then smacked a sacrifice fly brining Slate Miller home and advancing Jeff Butler to third. Those two runs that inning brought the Gauchos back in the lead and in a comfortable position as the game comes closer to the end.
With Manarino now out of the game, Seth Pederson came in to take his place. The eighth inning seemed disastrous for the Gauchos, with two huge errors: one an overthrow to first base from Pederson and a wild throw home from right field. This resulted in bringing the lead down to one.
“We let them right back in the game after we took the lead” said McCartney, upset.
With no action from the Gauchos in the bottom of the eighth, the Rustlers came in clutch during the ninth inning to make sure they weren’t leaving just yet. With Saddleback’s closer Anthony Shew coming in the game and a one run lead, it was their game to lose.
With the first batter up getting on base with a single to left field, it wasn’t an ideal way to start out the potential last inning. With the next batter-reaching first on a fielder’s choice, there was now one out with a man on first.
A double play would end the game and give the Gauchos another win and out them closer to being number one in the Orange Coast Conference. With the man on first looking as if he was going to steal, Shew threw to first to try and tag him out, but the pass was overthrown and the man on first advanced to third by that error. Now with only one out and a man on third the Gauchos were then at the risk of not closing out the game. Batter Soloman then popped up to center field to bring home the tying run. The inning ended shortly after that, but the damage was done and the Gauchos had to try and win the game at the bottom of the ninth.
With Golden West playing an immaculate inning, a quick three up three down, the teams then went to extra innings.
At the bottom of the 10th inning it looked as if, even though Saddleback has let Golden West back in this game time and time again that they were going to finally put the nail in the coffin. Brandon Cody started the inning off with a double, but with an interference at second base he was allowed to advance to third by the umpires call. So with no outs and a man on third, the Gauchos had everything going for them, but disappointingly to the team no one could bring Cody home for the win.
At the top of the 12th the Rustlers were able to take the lead, the first time since fourth inning. Daniel Dewol hit a single to left field getting him on first, but with a wild pitch he then advanced to second in scoring position. Sean Whiteman then doubled to center field and brought Dewol home to get the lead that eventually led to a win for the Golden West Gauchos.
“Anytime you have five errors you will be very lucky to win the ball game.” McCartney said.
Coach McCartney walks away from Jeff Butler who was just hit by his foul ball (Sean Byrne)
Brandon Cody hitting a double in the 10th inning (Sean Byrne)
Evan Manarino throwing heat (Sean Byrne)
One of the five strikeouts thrown by Manarino (Sean Byrne)