It wasn’t like Turlock High baseball didn’t have opportunities.
“We had 10 walks and two hit batters,” coach Mark de la Motte noted, “so we had lots of chances but didn’t cash in.”
By the time the Bulldogs began to create runs, their opponents, the Merced High Bears, just needed one more run to end any thought of going through a season undefeated. Before Tuesday’s game, a perfect season probably crossed the minds of the people associated with the Turlock baseball program, considering the amount of talent it boasts.
But on Tuesday afternoon, at their own baseball field, the Bulldogs suffered their first loss of the season. This one was a heartbreaking 4-3 setback in nine innings in Central California Conference play. The defending league champion Bulldogs (8-1 overall, 2-1 CCC) were set to play the Bears (7-4, 3-0) again in Merced on Thursday but heavy rain prevented the rematch.
The game has been rescheduled for Monday at 4 p.m. at Merced High.
On Tuesday, the Bears jumped to 3-0 after the top of the fourth before the Bulldogs issued a late-game rally. They tied it up at 3-3 with three runs in the bottom of the sixth, enough to eventually send the game into extra innings. Merced then managed a run in the ninth, and the Bulldogs did not capitalize in the final inning.
“We did not stop their bunting game and we have to be better hitting with men on base,” de la Motte said.
James Heller finished the game going 2-for-5 at the plate, while teammate Ryan Brown had an RBI. The Bulldogs used three pitchers in starter Jeremy McDonald and relievers Dylan Silva and Brent Backlund.
To contact Chhun Sun, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or call 634-9141 ext. 2041.