The Turlock Christian High Eagles varsity baseball team are off to the program’s best start since 2007 (10-1) after defeating Brookside Christian in a close league match that ended 4-3 on Wednesday from Pedretti Park.
“We played down today,” said TC head coach James Burbank. “It’s one of the better starts in history for sure, but last year we got to this point — all we needed to do was win one game and lost multiple straight to get us out of the playoff hunt. We’re happy with where we are, but we don't want to repeat last year.”
TC would lose four straight, including five of its last six games last year, missing the postseason after concluding the Central California Athletic Alliance with a 7-7 record.
They are already off to a 6-0 start in CCAA play, tied in first with undefeated Millenium (5-0) and Elliot Christian (3-0).
“We don't want to play down, we just have to show up consistently every week of baseball and we should be okay,” said Burbank.
It was an error filled game for TC, who committed five as opposed to BC's four. Three of those errors occurred in the last three innings, allowing three runs scored by BC. Leading up to the game, TC had gone three straight games without committing an error.
TC had three base runners caught stealing in the fourth, fifth and sixth inning.
“I think the kids realized they played down today,” said Burbank. “BC came out and their pitcher threw strikes and hit solid. They play good baseball, nothing to take away from that. We are used to playing good baseball or better, but we had little things that cost us outs and runs.”
Liam Jones started for the Eagles and tossed five innings, gave up one unearned run, six hits, two walks and struck out five.
Markie Delgadillo came in to relieve in the final two innings and picked up the save after allowing one earned run, a hit, two walks, and striking out two.
TC led 1-0 after the first and went up 3-0 by the time the third started after Delgadillo added the second run on an error throw to third base. Howie Skinner then added the third run after taking home on a pass ball.
Jakob Skinner scored the fourth and final run for TC in the bottom of the third after scoring on an error throw from the catcher to third base that allowed Skinner to cross the plate.
TC was able to fend off BC in the end, despite a dramatic ending that saw the final out being made at home plate.
With two outs in the top of the seventh, a wild pitch went by catcher Skinner, who then grabbed the ball in time to heave it to pitcher Delgadillo, who then tagged the runner out at home, ending the game.
“It was a dramatic ending,” said Burbank. “I never have doubt in my players. I had all confidence we could have won in bottom of seventh, but I try not to. My reaction didn't change, I am just as competitive as our guys are and I want to win as much as they are and that's just the nature of the game.”
Skinner was 2-for-2 with a single and a double and a stolen base. Jones went 1-for-2 with a walk and a triple. Delgadillo was 1-for-2 with a hit, scored a run and had two stolen bases.