re a bit of a surprise to the Bishop Broncos in early April when the two met at Bishop High. The Ravens took an early lead before the Broncos got on track and came from behind in the fifth inning to win the first High Desert League game 9-4.
There was no surprise in Friday’s rematch in Cal City. The Broncos came home with a 16-1 win and are still on top of the league standings.
“We played terrific defense,” said coach Tim Reid. “Chance Callahan and Schain Thomson were both outstanding.”
The game went scoreless through the first inning. The Broncos went three up; three down. The Ravens managed to put one man on base, but the strong Broncos infield of Thomson, Callahan and Aaron Puls left him stranded.
Tanner Kruse triggered Bishop’s offense in the second with a double. Doug Watterson and Nate Coakley loaded the bases with back-to-back walks. Taylor Neubauer dropped a pop fly into right field for single, scoring Kruse. Callahan followed with a single in the same right field gap, scoring Watterson and Coakley and giving the Broncos a 3-0 lead.
The Ravens retired the side in the second with no score, then took out three Broncos hitters with quick defensive plays to the Ravens first baseman Chaz Shearer. The single offensive Ravens spark came in the bottom of the third. Cal City’s Thomas Williamson gained first base on a bunt, second on a steal and home plate on a single from pitcher Julian Fuentes.
The Ravens sent Ryan Hanrahan to the mound in the top of the fifth, but the change in pitchers didn’t help their cause. Callahan hit a single; Broncos’ heavy-hitters Keith Tatum and Thomson were both walked to load the bases. Kruse came to bat and, with a full count, hit a 3-run triple, extending the Bronco lead 6-1.
Thomson’s big defensive play came with the second Raven batter in the fifth. Williamson’s hit, aided by 30 mph winds, sent the ball between Thomson and the outfielder. Thomson kept up, back pedaling into the outfield and diving for the catch and the out.
The Broncos onslaught picked up again in the sixth inning where it left off. Coakley walked, then gained second on a wild pitch. Neubauer and Callahan were both walked, loading the bases.
With two outs, Thomson hit a single, driving in Coakley and Neubauer.
By the time the beleaguered Hanrahan retired the side, the score was 8-1.
Next on the mound for the Ravens: Bob Maldanado who made it through four Broncos before being pulled and replaced with Williamson.
Of the four Raven pitchers, Reid admitted that Fuentes “held us down pretty good, he kept us off balance.”
Curran Simpson and Cy Scott, recruits from the Broncos junior varsity squad, came in at the top of the seventh to relieve Coakley and Neubauer. Watterson started the line-up with a triple, then crossed home plate on Simpson’s single. Scott and Callahan both walked.
Puls gained first on an error. By now, Williamson was up as the Ravens’ fourth pitcher of the game. Unfortunately for the Ravens, Williamson was no more effective than Hanrahan or Maldanado. Tatum’s single scored Simpson; Thomson’s double scored Scott and Callahan; Davis’ single scored Puls. Kruse was tagged out at first but scored Tatum. Simpson was back at bat, hit another single and chalked up another run, this time from Thomson. Scott’s single scored Davis and by the 13th Bishop hitter, Williamson got his third out, leaving the mound with a 16-1 score.
Kruse logged his 11th and 12th strikeouts of the game with the Ravens’ first two batters. The final out came with a pass from Thomson to Puls at first.
Today, the Broncos take on Frazier Mountain for the first time this season after the early April game was snowed out.
Reid anticipates a good game from the Falcons. “They’ve been inconsistent this year,” he said. “They get a big win, then lose by 10 runs. I expect a good game. Frazier was good last year and they got all their players back.”
Friday, Kern Valley travels to Bishop for a rematch, coming off a big win over Rosamond April 29.
Tanner Kruse pitched 7 innings, with 1 run, 2 hits, 6 strikeouts and no walks.
Chance Callahan: 1 for 2, 2 RBI
Keith Tatum: 1 for 3, 2 RBI
Schain Thomson: 2 for 4, 4 RBI
Tanner Kruse: 2 for 4 with a triple and 3 RBI
Doug Watterson: 1 for 4, a triple and 1 RBI
Nate Coakley: 1 for 4
Taylor Neubauer: 2 for 4, 2 RBI
Curran Simpson: 2 for 2
Cy Scott: 1 for 1