Hilmar had a tough time trying to overcoming their early deficit when the varsity baseball team hosted Calaveras for a preseason showdown on Wednesday night.
It was the longest first half inning that any Hilmar coach or player had been a part of after a 45 minute start.
Starting pitcher Colton Dutey went only 2/3 innings after allowing four runs, walking three, and hitting a batter, before being subbed for sophomore Chris Flores.
Flores was able to contain Calaveras from running up the score after allowing just one run in four innings, but unfortunately the Yellowjackets never found a groove offensively and eventually fell 13-3.
“We went out and were flat,” said Hilmar head coach Bobby Swedberg. “Obviously we struggled early pitching and throwing strikes and when you walk guys and load them on base without earning it, it usually bites you in the rear and it definitely did today after going down 4-0 then it snowballed from there.”
In the bottom half of the first, Hilmar was able to load up the bases after Wyatt Amaral, Alex Chavez and Jarrod Willis reached base safely, but with one out, the next two batters struck out and the inning left two runners in scoring position.
“We just never regained any momentum, we definitely had opportunities with guys in scoring position but we just couldn’t put the bat on the ball and make anything happen,” said Swedberg.
The team tallied only four hits for the game and Amaral had two of them after going 2-for-4. As a team, the offense struck out eight times.
Defensively, it was arguably one of the uglier games for the ‘Jackets after they committed eight errors for the game.
Calaveras only had seven hits and Casey Copulos led the team with a 2-for-4 performance and a pair of RBI.
Although the ‘Jackets rallied in the sixth inning, by this point they trailed 8-0 after Calaveras had gone off for a three-run rally to extend the lead.
Hilmar scored only three runs, all in the sixth, after Vital Verissimo tacked on the team’s first run of the game with an RBI single.
Amaral and Chavez followed with an RBI single apiece but the inning ended with an unfortunate Willis strikeout to end the sixth.
“It starts with our pitchers. It’s a team effort, it’s a collaborative effort but at the same time our pitchers have to dictate it to be able to get ground balls and fly outs and keep the defense on their heels,” said Swedberg.
The sophomore Flores tosses 60 pitches in four innings and struck out one, walked one and allowed a single run.
“Flores has been slowly working in, we are really proud of him after a few successful outings,” Swedberg said. “I didn’t really want to go with him this early in the game but in the situation we were in, he really kept them off balance and gave us an opportunity to score runs but unfortunately we couldn’t tonight.”
Hilmar will continue its preseason schedule with a home contest against Central Valley at 6:30 p.m. Friday.
“We got great leadership, we are not hitting the panic button, this is baseball,” Swedberg added. “It’s up and down, it’s the teams who do the small things consistently that are going to continue to get better and the next day is a new day.”