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Pitman starts Windemuth strong
Bulldogs snap winning streak, rebound on day two
Pitman baseball 3
Pitman High junior Jordan Aguiniga looks to turn two during the fourth inning of Tuesdays 9-2 win over Johansen. - photo by EDDIE RUIZ / The Journal

Tuesday was a good day for Turlock and Pitman High baseball teams at the 45th annual Dick Windemuth Tournament as both squads came away with victories.

The defending champions, Turlock, came off a 2-1 loss to Tracy on Monday which snapped the Bulldogs' nine-game winning streak, but the ‘Dogs rebounded on Tuesday with back-to-back wins, first against Gregori, 8-6, followed by a 13-1 five-inning mercy rule against Escalon at Modesto High.

“This will give us some momentum since we have a day off. We haven’t had practice in some time; we need to practice before next week since we have league matches coming up,” Turlock head coach Mark de la Motte said. “I am happy with the way we played the second game, we kind of snapped out of it and that was good for us.”

A total of 14 high schools are competing in the annual spring break tourney, which is split into two brackets — the Modesto and Enochs brackets.

Pitman started the tournament with a big victory over Johansen High, 9-2, at Enochs on Tuesday in the opening round for the Pride.

“We took off. After such a look weekend, we wondered how the boys would respond with all those days off so they were able to knock some cobwebs off and help us out, and now get after it to begin things off well,” Pitman head coach John Acha said.

With the score lopsided it may seem that it was close to a perfect game for the Pride, but it was a struggle on defense as the Pride committed seven errors.

“We try to get as many guys in to play since it is not a league game, so there were some guys who have not played a position a lot this year so that kind of contributes to the struggles we had on defense,” Acha said about his team’s defensive miscues.

Luckily for the Pride, that didn’t matter as starting pitcher Alex Rodin had a remarkable day on the mound after he tossed six innings, struck out four, walked two and allowed two unearned runs along with five hits to pick up the win.

It was shaky at times for the Pride, who found themselves with runners in scoring position multiple times after countless errors, but Rodin’s ability to keep his pitches moving caused troubles for the Vikings hitters to put the ball in play and forced the outs when needed.

“All in all, we were able to get a lot of outs with Alex [Rodin] pitching for us; he threw well, a lot of strikes,” said Acha. “We should be fine. If our pitching is there and we limit walks and hits, we can compete with anybody it just depends, because when our pitchers struggle, then we do as a team and we are on our heels then errors happen. But if our pitching is on, we will be fine.”

Pitman was only up 2-1 heading into the top of the third inning and then a four-run inning in the bottom of the third extended the lead to 6-1.

Johansen tacked on their second and final run in the sixth inning, but in the bottom half, Pitman’s Josh Hernandez smacked a bases clearing double to make the score 9-2 to wrap it up and give relief pitcher Ryan Sather a seven-run lead heading into the final three outs.

For Turlock, the first game against Tracy was a disaster offensively as nobody hit anything, especially in critical situations, but on Tuesday the bats came alive.

“We didn’t hit at all against Tracy, with those couple days off you could really tell,” de la Motte said.

In the morning game against Gregori, it took the Bulldogs five innings to get up as they found themselves down 6-3 in the sixth. But a five-run inning that started with an Alex Palios RBI single ended with the ‘Dogs going up 8-6 as starting pitcher Cody Cornell picked up his second win of the season.

“Late, finally the bats came alive, got some hits and a hot sixth. Came from behind and that got us rolling when we started to hit well,” said de la Motte.

The next game was a completely different story for the ‘Dogs, who tallied 14 hits and scored 13 runs before the fifth inning to win it by a 10-run rule victory over Escalon.

Led by Austin Bush’s 3-for-3 game that also saw a home-run and five RBIs, the Cougars failed to challenge the top dogs of the Central California Conference.

The next game for Turlock will be on Thursday, however the opponent and time of matchup will not be determined until after today's games.

Pitman will get a doubleheader today, with their first game set for 10 a.m. against Enochs followed by a matchup against Beyer High at 12:45 p.m., with all contests at Enochs High school.