The Bishop Broncos beat the Rosamond Roadrunners by a score of 3-1 Friday.
No, it wasn’t a soccer game, it was baseball in what amounted to a defensive battle. Broncos Doug Watterson and Tanner Kruse won that battle by a margin not reflected in the score, combining for 15 strikeouts against Rosamond’s Matt Franco’s three.
The win catapults Bishop ahead of Rosamond for the top High Desert League spot with a 3-0 record in league, 11-2 overall.
Coach Tim Reid wasn’t surprised at the tight, low-scoring game. “It was what I expected,” he said. “They’re a good team, they’ve got good pitching, a good defense and they don’t make mistakes.”
Watterson started the game on the mound. “He did a good job,” said Reid. “He did everything we wanted him to do and more.”
Watterson faced four hitters in the first inning. Fielders Nate Coakley and Cy Scott snared two pop flies. The third out was caught at first, leaving one Roadrunner on base. Facing freshman pitcher Matt Franco, the Broncos’ bats were no more productive. Aaron Puls and Schain Thomson both singled but were left stranded at the final out.
Inning two was an instant replay of the first. The top of the third was even quicker with two strikeouts and a short grounder to Puls at first base.
If there were a scoreboard at Bishop’s baseball field, it would have lit up in the bottom of the third. Franco had two quick Bronco outs, walked Puls and then had to face Keith Tatum. Tatum smashed a home run over the right outfield fence and Bishop was ahead 2-0.
The Roadrunners tried to mount an offense in the top of the third. Jerald Harris sent a rocket into center field for a double. With Franco’s single, Rosamond was in position to tie up the game. Ryan Epps sent a long, high lob to center fielder Scott for an out, but not before Harris scored. Tanner Kruse came to the mound to relieve Watterson and retired the side.
What the last half of the game lacked in action, it made up for with suspense. Between Franco and the Roadrunner fielders, the Broncos went scoreless through the next two innings. But, so did the Roadrunners. Rosamond came close in the sixth. With one out and the bases loaded, the pressure was on Kruse. He finished out the inning with two strikeouts, leaving all three Roadrunners stranded.
Bishop needed an insurance run and got it in the sixth. Thomson sent the ball to the outfield fence for a double, then advanced to third on a Jared Davis bunt. Coakley racked up another RBI, scoring Thomson on a single. Bishop’s lead stretched to a scant 3-1.
Now it was up to the Broncos’ defense to hold Rosamond scoreless through one last turn at bat. Kruse struck out Nicholas Sterling. With a full count, Emilo Gonzalez got to first on a shallow hit to center field. Ryan Christensen lobbed the ball to third baseman Davis for the second out. Lashante Grimes walked, putting the tying runs on base for Rosamond. Harris, who had doubled and scored the Roadrunners’ lone run, was up next.
We’ve already given away the ending. Harris strikes out and Bishop takes the game and first place in HDL.
The Desert Scorpions come to Bishop Tuesday, April 26. Desert is in the HDL basement with a 0-3 league record, 1-7 overall.
Doug Watterson pitched 3-1/3 innings, 6 strikeouts, 4 hits, 1 walk, 1 run
Tanner Kruse pitched 3-2/3 innings, 9 strikeouts, 2 hits, 0 runs
Chance Callahan: 2 runs
Aaron Puls: 1 for 4
Keith Tatum: 1 for 3 with a 2-run homer
Schain Thomson: 1 for 3 with a double
Jared Davis: a sacrifice punt
Tanner Kruse: 1 for 3
Nathan Coakley: 1 for 3
Cy Scott: 1 for 3