It was a down game for the Hilmar varsity baseball team on Saturday afternoon when they hosted Sonora High.
An early collapse cost the Yellowjackets a chance at victory after surrendering 15 unanswered runs to Sonora, which eventually led to their 4-18 mercy rule loss.
“I threw a very young lineup out there tonight,” Hilmar head coach Bobby Swedberg said. “It gives them an opportunity to compete at this level and get better. We are young, but we obviously can’t use that as an excuse we just need to keep grinding and get better.”
The ‘Jackets took the diamond with six underclassmen and three seniors as they have the majority of their games thus far but found themselves outmatched against a very gritty and determined Wildcat team.
In the first inning the Wildcats struck immediately, scoring three runs to take an early lead.
Hilmar responded in the bottom of the first with three runs of their own after the team’s first three batters landed safely on base.
Ryan Silveira hit a two-run single to cut the lead to 2-3 for the ‘Jackets and then tied the game at three apiece after scoring from third base due to a pass ball.
“We got a couple guys on early and stole some bases and we put a hit and run and bunted and we got guys in scoring position,” Swedberg said. “It all just tail-spinned out of control for us after that.”
Sonora scored the most runs they have all year in only five innings (18).
“We just have to limit the mistakes that we have put up like these crooked numbers where we score some but give up twice as many,” Swedberg said. “It just makes it hard to win games that way.”
By the end of the fourth the team had gone a combined 11-for-26 after taking a 14-run lead.
As a team the Sonora Wildcats tallied 13 hits on 31 at-bats for the game.
“Sonora is a well-coached team and I know the coach and played against him for many years,” said Swedberg. “But for them to play against the top tier schools it prepares them for league and they are already hitting mid-season form and we are still trying to find out our identity.”
Hilmar’s Alex Chavez was 2-for-3 and scored the team's fourth and final run behind an offense that finished with only five hits for the game.
Hilmar’s next game will be a Trans Valley League matchup against the Hughson Huskies at 4 p.m. Tuesday.