Stevenson homers in Tigers’ 14-2 loss to Golden Bears
By Patrick Dillon
woodlake – In the last three seasons, the Tigers and Golden Bears have met in the last week of the regular season usually with the East Sequoia League (ESL) title on the line. In the last two years, the teams shared the title.
As for this season, the Sierra Pacific Golden Bears (24-4; 15-0) entered the final week having already secured the ESL title outright while the Woodlake Tigers (14-12; 8-7) weren’t able to pull themselves out of third place as they lost by a score of 14-2.
“Even though they had the league championship wrapped up we still wanted to compete,” said Woodlake head coach Raul Quintero.
It all began when the Tigers starting pitcher Robby Stevenson was a scratch due to pain in his shoulder before the game begun. That left the starting job to Dylan Mils. After just two innings of work, Mils began complaining of pain in his shoulder. In the two innings that Mils pitched he was only able to get one strike out and allowed three runs, only one of which was earned.
After Mils the Tigers had to call on players who were inexperienced from the mound. Players such as Horacio Pena and Vicente Pena, both of whom had never pitched before. However, Vicente, who entered in the top of the seventh inning made quick work of the Golden Bears batters causing each on to fly out on three straight pitches.
“Would we have won had our regular pitchers been in there? That remains to be seen,” said Coach Quintero.
While the inexperienced arms on the mound were the reason why the Golden Bears jumped out to a 14-0 lead, there was one bright spot for the Tigers. In the bottom of the sixth inning, Stevenson stepped up to bat. Stevenson waited for the pitch he wanted and then drove the ball down the right field line and over the wall for his second home run of the season.
“That ball got out of here in a hurry,” said Coach Quintero. “It is always a bright spot when you see a kid jump on a ball like that.”
Stevenson finished the game going two for three from the plate.
Stevenson’s home run not only wiped off the Tiger’s zero on the scoreboard but gave his teammates a bit of confidence. Manny Marintez batted after Stevenson and doubled. One at-bat later, Vicente drove in Marintez for the last score of the game.
The Tigers will enter the post season riding a three-game losing streak after falling to the Golden Bears 5-1 on May 9 and to the Strathmore Spartans 2-1 on May 4.
Despite the third place finish in the ESL the Tigers were still given the seventh seed in the D-V playoffs. That means Woodlake will host the Washington Union Panthers (9-19; 3-12) on Wednesday, May 17, beginning at 4:30 p.m. The Panthers finished in last place in the North Sequoia League and enter the post season on a seven game losing streak.