Pitman High thoroughly beat Merced High on the baseball diamond Monday afternoon in the Pride's second Central California Conference game of the season. Four days removed from beating Golden Valley High 8-0, Pitman again pitched a shutout as they handed Merced its third consecutive loss by a score of 10-0.
“I think the preseason did us well. We tried to get as many games in as we could. We tried to find our identity and find ourselves and get our pitchers enough innings before league started,” Pitman head coach John Acha said. “So far it's gone pretty well, but obviously it's still very early.”
Sophomore Nick Jones started on the mound for the Pride and pitched all five innings as he consistently stifled Bear batters. Jones didn't allow a hit until the top of the fourth inning when Merced hit back-to-back singles and ended up finishing the game with only three allowed hits, two walks and one strike out.
“Nick Jones did a great job. He feeds in the ground ball. It's not like he's striking out a ton of guys, he just throws a lot of strikes and gets guys to chase. That's helped out a lot,” Acha said.
While its defense played perfectly for the third consecutive game, Pitman's offense scored in all but the first inning of play.
Colton Evans helped put the first run on the board with a sacrifice fly ball in the bottom of the second inning, giving Coleton Horner time to tag-up and score from third base. As the fourth man to bat in the bottom of the third inning, Horner hit a RBI single to cross Matt Carrigg and begin a four-run effort in the inning.
Todd Jones followed with a RBI to cross Dylan Roberts to make it 3-0. Zach Wichman scored the fourth run off a Merced mistake, dashing to home plate from third on a through ball. Finally, Daren Finney rounded out the third inning with a RBI double that crossed Horner for the second time.
“We didn't chase. We made the other guy work, the other pitchers, and we got a lot of free bases out of it,” Acha said. “We walked seven times, so our guys did a good job of staying disciplined at the plate. And when we did hit the ball, we hit the ball hard. It was pretty nice.”
Carrigg extended Pitman's lead by a run with a crushing RBI triple in the bottom of the fourth inning before scoring himself thanks to a Roberts RBI. The Pride then capped their scoring frenzy with a Donovan Bravo RBI double that crossed Jones, a Colton Evans RBI single that crossed Finney and an Anthony Encalade RBI double that crossed Bravo.
Pitman is now set to face Merced again today, this time on the road, with Wichman on the mound.
“We haven't faced the best of their pitching and they haven't faced the best of ours. So it's really going to come down to pitching and defense,” Acha said. “I fully expect to see these guys from Merced coming after us. I think the game will be a little different, we were just fortunate enough to be hot on the right day and have our sophomore Nick Jones pitch really well for us.”