Blazers top Lions 6-5
By Patrick Dillon
visalia – The Golden West Trailblazers (8-10; 1-4) had two outs in the bottom of the seventh inning of a 5-5 tie against the Mira Monte Lions (9-8; 3-1) in their final game of the 33rd annual Pro-PT Tulare/ Visalia Invitational.
But lucky for the Blazers, they had runners on the corners which set up a double steal opportunity.
“It is one of those plays that you practice and only get to run once or twice a year,” said Golden West head coach Rick Lantrip.
The Lions’ pitcher Isaac Saldana had gotten the ball back after Golden West’s Ryan Plaugher fouled off a pitch. While Saldana was on the back of the mound Philip Anaya took off from first toward second. Saldana noticed the ill advised steal attempt and threw the ball to his short stop in hopes tagging Anaya for the final out. Anaya quickly retreated back to third but the Lions had already taken the bait.
Michael Strawn from third had taken off toward home once Saldana had thrown to his short stop and was able to stroll home to give the Blazers the win 6-5.
“Coach gave us the double steal and it worked perfectly, guy got distracted and I scored,” said Strawn.
The ending was only a part of a game that had its share of ups and downs in it. But Zac Legarretta, who pitched the entire game for the Blazers kept his team grounded. Only able to get three strikeouts in the game, Legarretta used his infield to his advantage registering 10 ground outs as he kept the Lions’ batters guessing.
“[Legarretta] made pitches when he needed to and that is all that matters,” said Coach Lantrip.
In the bottom of the fourth inning, the Blazers’ offense helped Legarretta out as they extended their lead to 3-0. A double into left center field by Anthony Ceballos scored Christian Ortiz from first. Then a pair of wild pitches allowed Ceballos to take third and eventually score.
But twice in the game the Lions were able to pull even with the Blazers. In the top of the fifth, Mira Monte’s Manuel Chavez hit the ball into right center for a double. That hit scored Omar Ramirez which capped off a three-run inning for the Lions which tied up the game 3-3. Then again in the top of the seventh, the Lions erased another two-run deficit to tie up the game 5-5.
“I thought we played well.Overall, I’m happy,” said Lantrip.
The Blazers will start up West Yosemite League (WYL) competition again on April 22, on the road against the Hanford West Huskies (6-14; 2-3).