The Turlock High baseball players didn’t have to look at the scoreboard behind them to know that. This was, in fact, a crosstown meeting with Pitman High, a team that wouldn’t mind topping a one-loss team like the Bulldogs for several reasons.
But this Turlock team has been tested before. So it wasn’t surprising that the Bulldogs remained calm despite a late-game Pitman rally, eventually holding on for a 5-4 win in the Central California Conference game on Tuesday afternoon at Turlock High’s baseball field.
That’s always a good thing, considering the Bulldogs are now 16-1 overall and have a huge advantage over other league teams with an 8-1 mark. The crosstown battle isn’t over yet. Just like in Tuesday’s games, fans will undoubtedly fill up the stands at the Pitman High baseball field on Thursday at 4 p.m. for the second of three meetings this season.
Pitman made Tuesday’s game interesting, to say the least. The Pride held a 2-0 advantage after the top of the second inning, thanks to Shea Patterson’s two-RBI single to centerfield.
In the seventh inning, the Pride (11-6 overall, 5-4 CCC) were down 5-2 after the Bulldogs scored all their runs in the fourth. The Pride led off their last frame with three consecutive hits before Mike Lopes knocked in two runs with his second hit of the day to leftfield.
But relief pitcher Ryan Cumberland finished his outing with two strikeouts, just enough to salvage Jeremy McDonald’s win. McDonald had five strikeouts in six innings of pitching to improve his record to 5-0.
“We play as a team, we don’t get down on each other,” said Turlock catcher Ryan Brown, who finished with a double and an RBI. “Even if someone makes a mistake, we try to pick them up.”
The Bulldogs’ big inning was in the fourth, when they scored five runs on three hits and one error. All this happened with two outs, thanks to clutch RBI hits by Ryan Flood, Kevin Kramer and Tommy Evans.
Kramer, the former leadoff hitter who switched to the No. 3 position only a couple weeks ago, went 2-for-3 with an RBI. For the Pride, pitcher Brandon Lewis threw four strikeouts but fell to a 5-2 record.
“They have a good club, they really do,” Turlock coach Mark de la Motte said about the Pride.
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