Hilmar High ace starting pitcher Jacob Ahid struck out 13 and allowed only one earned run in Friday’s tournament finale against Mariposa and the Yellowjackets lost in a tight 0-1 decision, snapping a three game winning streak.
“We had our opportunities at times tonight, but we just didn’t get the key hits in key situations that could’ve changed the outcome of the game,” said Hilmar head coach Bobby Swedberg. “But also based on the pool play we ended up winning the tournament based on technicality of runs allowed so it was a morale victory all and all really going 2-1 and them as well.”
Hilmar handled their first two matchups leading to Friday’s finale after beating Le Grand, 5-2, on Wednesday night. The ‘Jackets then handed Gustine a 14-3 defeat on Thursday night which then catapulted the home squad into their tournament championship game.
Despite a great effort from Ahid on the mound, the ‘Jackets failed to produce any offense at all, especially since the offense was kept to only three hits, two of which came from Ahid and no runs were scored against Mariposa starter Noah Fluharty.
“Jacob competes for us every time he is on the mound,” said Swedberg. “But it’s tough when you lose over and over by one or two runs when your ace is on the mound, makes it tough but tip your hat to Mariposa’s pitcher because he did just as good and kept us off balance.”
Despite now a losing record of 2-4, Ahid has been the most consistent pitcher for his team, with an ERA of less than 1.80; he has allowed two or more runs only twice thus far.
“First and foremost, Jacob is our work horse...he has had some tough losses but that doesn’t show what type of pitcher he is on the mound because he is a competitor,” Swedberg said. “The margin of error for him is small and sometimes the ball bounces your way and other times it doesn’t but the record doesn’t show how good he is.”
The ball didn’t roll the ‘Jackets way despite Ahid tossing a great game and reaching a peak of 86 miles per hour with his fastball.
At one point during Friday’s game, Ahid had struck out 12 of the 15 batters he had faced up until the fifth inning.
The only run for Mariposa came in the fourth inning when Morgan Hughes hit an RBI single on a 1-2 pitch and drove in Fluharty for what would eventually be the game winning run
“We are turning the tables, we're turning it around and things are finally falling our way and the guys are executing to the point where we should be able to finish strong for the rest of the year,” Swedberg added.
The only offense produced came from Ahid who was 2-for-2 with a walk. Jarrod Willis was 1-for-3 and Noah Batista finished with a walk.