The start of league couldn't have gone any better for the Pitman Pride varsity baseball team when they traveled on the road to take on the Atwater High Falcons on Monday afternoon in what resulted in a mercy-rule win.
Both teams scored a run in the first inning but after that it was all Pitman as the team kicked off with a two, three and finally an eight-run rally in the fifth and final inning that gave the Pride a 14-1 victory.
“It's a good sigh of relief. The bats showed up,” said Pitman head coach John Acha. “In that first league game you never know, you can get beat and that will give you a tough time for the rest of the season. We were just happy to come out and compete... probably the best we have all season so far.”
The Pride were 2-5 in preseason play heading into Monday's first Central California Conference game. That is the worst start in program history, but the team wasn't pondering on it. Instead, Pitman did exactly what was needed of them after the bats lit up from top to bottom on Monday.
Eight of the team’s nine starters added at least one RBI for the game while all nine scored at least one run.
Altogether, Pitman walked a total of seven times for the game. That all led to runs being scored in all but one inning (fourth) after Pitman led 6-1 heading into the start of the fifth.
“We had hoped, since it was 6-1 heading into the fifth, and we knew if we let them hang around we can be in trouble so I wanted to make sure we got at least a couple runs,” said Acha. “Guys were really good and patient at the plate and we were able to score some runs.”
In the top of the fifth, Pitman added eight runs that were highlighted by a Gerardo Ramos two-run double with one out that gave the Pride a 10-run or more lead at 12-1. Two more runs were added and the pitching was able to fend off the Falcons attempt of a comeback in the bottom half of the fifth.
Jack Wheeland started at the mound for the Pride and tossed four innings, allowed one hit and an unearned run, while walking three and striking out five.
“I would say it wasn't his best outing, but it was definitely one where it was good and able to battle down on counts and those are good things and positives that he was able to work through,” said Acha. “We got the ground balls when he wanted or when he needed and a good character check for him for not necessarily having his best stuff and being able to battle through it.”
Brett Hagen came in as relief, marking his first appearance of the season. He pitched a shutout inning in the fifth and added a pair of strikeouts.
Pitman tallied 10 hits and committed three errors. Atwater was held to a single hit and one run for the game while committing four errors.
“Couple times where we tried to do too much,” said Acha. “But for the most part we did well. We just had a couple errors on defense that if we can clean that up moving forward and don't try to do too much, then we will be fine.”
Daniel Fareria, AJ Encalade and Omar Onate had two RBI apiece. Ramos was 3-for-4 with two RBI. Jordan Lavezzo was 2-for-4 with an RBI. Tyler Stout was 2-for-2 with three runs scored, an RBI and a walk. Mac Cabero was 2-for-3 with two RBI and a run scored.
“Just because you go and beat a team by this many runs, it’s high school baseball so you know they will come out ready to play, and who knows who they have on the mound coming out,” Acha added. “He can be lights out so we may have a 1-0 ball game on Wednesday, so we need to stay within ourselves.”
Pitman is now 3-5 overall and 1-0 in the CCC. The next game for the Pride will be a home contest against Atwater at 4 p.m. Wednesday.