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The match-up of the Bishop Broncos and Lone Pine Golden Eagles baseball teams Tuesday afternoon wasnâ€™t exactly the exhilarating cross-county contest anticipated.
The Broncos whooped the Eagles 9-2. The Eagles kept it close until the bottom of the fifth inning when Bishop went on a 5-run tear.
This yearâ€™s Bishop team is, basically, the same team that went to the CIF semifinals in 2011; the most notable missing body being Aaron Puls who turned into the home run king toward the end of the season.
Coach Tim Reid was more than pleased with what he saw Tuesday. â€śThatâ€™s the best Chance has been at bat this season,â€ť he said of the short stopâ€™s .750 game batting average. He put Nate Coakley in to relieve starter Cy Scott and got everything he wanted with 4 strikeouts.
With the exception of a few brainless, early-season errors, Bishop is right on track.
When this same batch of Lone Pine athletes are up, theyâ€™re exquisite to watch. The Golden Eagles can play with bravado and confidence, pulling points out of thin air. Even Reid admitted the Eagles were good this year.
Those Eagles didnâ€™t show up in Bishop Tuesday afternoon.
â€śWe need to clean up the defense,â€ť said coach Chris Riesen, â€śand be both more aggressive and more patient at the plate. Weâ€™re in a slump, but weâ€™ll keep working on it.â€ť
Scott took the mound for Bishop and logged three of his six strike outs in the top of the first. Michael Cappello started for Lone Pine and had a rough inning, starting with Callahanâ€™s double. Scott was next up and scored Callahan on a double. Schain Thomson tripled, sending Scott home; Kruse singled, scoring Thomson and giving the Broncos a healthy 3-0 lead and only one out in the inning. The Eagles got their last two outs on a pop fly, then tagged Kruse at second base on a steal attempt.
Scott made short work of the Eagles in the top of the second, then the Broncos picked up where they left off with singles from Taylor Neubauer and Corey Thomson. Lone Pine catcher Shane Riesen impressively blocked Neubauerâ€™s run for home but Callahan went 2 for 2 with an RBI single, scoring Thomson for a 4-0 Broncosâ€™ lead.
With two outs in the bottom of the inning, Scott hit a high lob to center fielder Seth Muniz who lost the ball in the sun. Keith Tatum hit the ball in the same trajectory, but Muniz redeemed himself for the final out.
With two outs in the top of the third, Mike Palsrok and Gabe Galindo singled, Palsrokâ€™s on a Bishop error, but both were left on base with the final out at first base.
Shayne Boots relieved Cappello for the Eagles; the first two Broncos popped out, the third was out at first.
With Nate Coakley on the mound for Bishop in the fourth, the Eagles went three up/three down.
In the bottom of the fourth, Neubauer singled for the Broncos, but was on the tail end of a sharp double play to retire the side.
The Eaglesâ€™ bats got more effective in the fifth. Facing a full count, Umberto Romero singled. Tyler Sutton had a single turn into a double on a Bishop error, scoring Romero. Palsrok sent a line drive down the third base line for a double, scoring Sutton. Coakley struck out the final Eagle, stemming any further damage. The Eagles had narrowed the score 4-2.
Bishop went on a scoring frenzy in the fifth, starting with a Callahan single. Powerhouse Keith Tatum had two pop-outs for his first two at-bats, but his third at-bat was the charm. Tatum sent a triple to the fence line to score Callahan. Thomson walked; Tanner was out at first, but scored Tatum. Simpson, Neubauer and Coakley all hit 1 RBI singles and the Broncos took a 9-2 lead.
Lone Pineâ€™s Boots and Riesen hit singles in the top of the sixth but Boots was tagged at second base and the final two Eagles popped out.
Schain Thomson, who Reid identified as his not-so-secret weapon, came to the mound in the seventh and struck out the first two Eagles. He walked Palsrok but left him stranded on base with the final out of the game.
Bishop travels to Burroughs for a double-header Saturday, with ace pitcher Kruse â€śprobably on the mound,â€ť said Reid. The Broncos host Tehachapi Tuesday, March 27 before heading to Paraclete, Thursday, April 5. â€śWeâ€™ve got tough games ahead of us,â€ť said Reid. The Broncosâ€™ High Desert League opener is at California City, Tuesday, April 10 with the home opener against Frazier Mountain, Friday, April 13.
Lone Pine hosted Mammoth yesterday for its Desert Mountain League opener.
Cy Scott: 3 innings, 1 hit, 6 strikeouts
Nate Coakley: 3 innings, 4 strikeouts
Schain Thomson: 1 inning, 3 strikeouts
Chance Callahan: 3 for 4
Cy Scott: 2 for 4
Keith Tatum: 1 for 4 with a triple
Schain Thomson: 1 for 2 with a double
Tanner Kruse: 1 for 3
Taylor Neubauer: 2 for 3
Nate Coakley: 1 for 3
Lone Pine Stats
Michael Cappello: 2 innings, 1 strikeout, 7 hits, 4 runs
Shayne Boots: 3 innings, 2 strikeouts, 3 hits, 5 runs
Umberto Romero: 1 inning
Mike Palsrok: 1 for 3, 1 RBI
Tyler Sutton: 1 run
Umberto Romero: 1 for 3, 1 hit, 1 RBI
Shayne Boots: 2 for 3
Gabe Galindo: 1 for 3