Six errors and six unearned runs became the difference in Wednesday's Trans-Valley League bout between Hilmar and Mountain House High.
The Yellowjackets of Hilmar came into the game winning six straight and seven of their last eight but their streak came to an abrupt end after a defensive debacle that led to multiple unearned Mustang runs.
Despite the struggle for Hilmar, they led heading into the seventh by a run, but multiple errors allowed runners on base to score and in the end the Mustangs came away with only their second win after a 9-8 shocker.
“From the first pitch to the last pitch we weren't engaged in this game,” said Hilmar head coach Bobby Swedberg. “In all phases of this game and anytime you give up six unearned runs you are probably going to have a tough time winning games. We also left bases loaded two or three times and left guys in scoring position.”
Hilmar left five runners in scoring position in the second, third and fourth inning alone, but went up 8-5 at the start of the fifth.
“We scored just one run or no runs at times so mindset wise wasn't good enough,” said Swedberg. “Approaches weren't good enough. It's just not going to get it done. One loss is not going to make or break our season by any means, we made sure that we can string wins together and can execute when we are focused.”
Hilmar won their first two TVL contests against Riverbank on Monday in a home doubleheader. In the first game Hilmar was off to a slow start but managed to get the 5-2 win in the end. That win was followed by an 8-4 victory over the Bruins.
MH was the opposite as they came in having won just a single contest after their first eight games and were on a two-game losing streak.
“It's easy to overlook people, when you are young it is easy, but that is baseball, anybody can win any given day. It’s just a matter of what team shows up and wants it more and executes,” said Swedberg.
Hilmar starting pitcher Chris Flores tossed four and 2/3 innings while allowing just a pair of earned runs before Brady Dutey came in to relieve him, pitching one and 1/3.
The Mustangs notched a run in the fifth and another in the sixth, cutting the lead to 8-7 by the start of the seventh. From there MH scored a pair of runs that were unearned to tie it at eight apiece followed by a run scored off an outfield error.
“Sometimes you learn from a loss more than you learn from winning five or six in a row because at times you lose your focus of what it took to get you to win consecutive games,” said Swedberg. “You don't want to lose a game this way, especially in league, but all they can do is back to work tomorrow and be ready to go, learn from it.”
Trent Crowley strung a pair of hits for the game while Zach Berberia added an RBI along with Treven Crowley. Flores added a pair of RBI.
Hilmar is now 8-5 overall and 2-1 in TVL play with the loss.
Hilmar will next travel to Banner Island in Stockton to take on Mountain House at 10 a.m. Saturday.