Prior to the final game of the week, Hilmar High varsity baseball was looking sharp and coming off a strong 11-4 victory on the road over first-place Hughson on Tuesday.
In baseball momentum can shift almost instantly. On Tuesday the Hilmar High varsity baseball team had a strong, 11-4, victory on the road over first-place Hughson High. Two days later, the Huskies got payback when they notched a 14-0 win over the Yellowjackets on Hilmar’s home field.
“Pitching wise we are missing a couple of arms, our No. 2 and No. 3…so we ran out Blake Barker today and I am proud of him since he did all he could; it is difficult,” said Hilmar head coach Jeff Brown. “In high school pitching you only have so many arms, that kind of put us behind and they jumped out early. Give them credit, we weren’t able to recover.”
Barker, Hilmar’s No. 3 starter on the rotation kicked off Thursday’s game and pitched two innings.
Hughson came out strong, however, and by the end of the second inning the Huskies were up 4-0 after three runs were scored in the first and one in the top of the second.
With limited arms, Brown was then forced to put in freshman Jason Pimentel.
Pimentel tossed 1 and 1/3 innings before Matt Olvera finished the fourth inning and the fifth, going 1 and 2/3.
Hughson put the game out of reach after an eight-run inning in the fourth to go up 13-0.
By the end of the game, Hughson had secured a 14-0 lead while Hilmar’s offense was held scoreless till the end.
“We have been such a mixed bag…we have yet to put an entire game together because if you look at our fielding percentage, we have made far too many errors and that has been our Achilles heel all season long so we have to be better there,” said Brown. “If we start to improve defensively and make those routine plays, then you will see us play better baseball and be in a groove.”
Hughson’s junior starting pitcher Seth Garza looked sharp on Thursday.
Garza pitched a five-inning complete game shutout, keeping Hilmar’s offense at bay.
Following the loss, Hilmar drops to fifth in the Trans-Valley League standings at 2-2, while Hughson, Escalon and Ripon are tied for first in league at 3-1.
Hughson is 12-1 overall, having lost to only Hilmar so far.
Hilmar is 5-5 overall.
“We are in the middle at .500 in league, but I still think we have our best baseball in front of us,” said Brown. “We have a good group of kids and we definitely have the talent. I fully expect us to be in the mix in the end. We are a good team that is still working on everything and working on improving everywhere and getting everything right.”
Hilmar’s next game is a non-league contest on the road at Golden Valley High at 4 p.m. Tuesday.
“It is good that we have a break coming up, since it helps us get healthier,” Brown added. “We are trying to implement our coaching style and still a learning curve with the weather as well…this bye week could be good for us to get back into the drawing board, get healthy and get ready for Ripon – that will be a big series and we will be ready as they will be also.”