Turlock Christian High and Denair High played a series of baseball games on Wednesday and Friday, splitting the matchups. The Eagles (5-1 SAL) entered Wednesday’s game at Pedretti Park undefeated but left with a loss after the Coyotes (2-4 SAL) earned a hard fought 4-3 victory. TC responded with vengeance on Friday, beating Denair 7-3.
TC kicked off Wednesday’s matchup with two first inning runs. The Eagles scored again in the third inning but Denair did as well, putting two runs on the scoreboard. The next four innings were relatively quiet on the offensive front as TC’s Jesse Lopes and Denair’s Ryan Cascia battled it out from the hill.
In the seventh inning a tired Lopes struck a Coyote in the head with a pitch, resulting in Denair’s tying run. At that time the Eagles were one strike away from victory. Denair eventually scored the winning run in the eighth inning, handing TC its first league loss of the season.
“We didn’t do what we were supposed to do,” TC’s head coach Jon Valenti said. “If you make a mistake in the SAL, you’re going to lose.”
TC’s boys took its first loss to Denair and molded it into motivation for Friday’s game. In the second matchup the Eagle offense, led by Lopes (.750) and Kody Heppner (.667), took control. TC scored two runs in the first inning once again. In the third inning both teams notched two runs but Denair wouldn’t score again until the seventh inning where they added a run to their total. TC, on the other hand, scored twice more in the fifth inning and once more in the sixth.
“We executed,” Valenti said. “We capitalized on making routine plays and played solid baseball.”
The Eagles were also aided by first year transfer Josh Glendenning who replaced an injured Heppner on the mound after the second inning. It was only the second game Glendenning has played as an Eagle after coming to TC from Ceres High.
TC now sits in a tie for first place in the SAL with Le Grand High, its next opponent. The Eagles will rely on Lopes from the plate as well as the mound, where he’s thrown 56 strikes in 29 innings, as they attempt to knock the Bulldogs (5-1 SAL) down to second place. TC and Le Grand will play on Monday in a double header.
Denair currently sits in fifth place and will face Ripon Christian High on Tuesday and Thursday.