Friday afternoon, the Bishop Broncos played for pride; the Frazier Mountain Falcons played for third place in High Desert League and a spot in the CIF baseball playoffs. Pride won out.
The Broncos ended their season with a perfect 10-0 record after the 13-3 victory over the Falcons in Frazier.
“I was so proud of the team all week,” said coach Tim Reid. “Everybody was drained both physically and mentally.”
The Frazier Mountain game was the third away game in five days for Bishop.
All that is known of Bishop’s first-round playoff game is that it will be played on home field. The opponent will be the winner of a wild card game played today. Bishop’s first round is scheduled for Thursday, but may be played Friday, depending on team preferences.
With six starters batting over 300, the Broncos hitters send shivers of fear through opposing pitchers. But, Friday it was Keith Tatum’s and Nathan Coakley’s power that demolished the Falcons.
Tatum doubled in the first, smashed a 2-run homer in the third and a single in the fifth. Coakley went 3 for 4 with two doubles.
Doug Watterson took the mound for the Broncos and the win. “Doug had a tremendous game,” said Reid.
The jet lag from the May 10 game at Rosamond, the May 12 trip to Lancaster and Friday’s Frazier game showed in Bishop’s defense with an uncharacteristic seven errors for the game. The Broncos have a week of practice and rest to get back on track for the first round of playoffs.
Tatum started the Broncos off in the first inning with a double, sending Tanner Kruse across home plate. Schain Thomson followed with a single, scoring Tatum and giving Bishop a 2-0 lead.
The Falcons answered with a run by pitcher Paul Cooper off a Broncos outfield error, narrowing the margin 2-1.
Cooper took care of the top of the second: three up/three down. Bishop’s defense didn’t give Watterson much help in the bottom of the second, but the Broncos pitcher held his own, taking out the final three Falcon batters and leaving three runners stranded.
Kruse started things rolling for Bishop in the third with a single that, with the help of the Falcons’ fielding miscues and a lot of hustle, he turned into a double. With a 1-0 count, Tatum sent the ball flying over the left field fence for an impressive 2-run homer, sending Bishop ahead 4-1.
With two outs and a runner on first, the Falcons’ Josh Regan doubled on a Broncos error, sending Alex Egertson home for the Falcons’ second run.
Bishop broke the game open in the fourth. At the top of the line-up, Coakley doubled. Taylor Neubauer walked on a wild pitch that scored Coakley and sent Neubauer to second base. Cy Scott singled, scoring Neubauer. Chance Callahan singled and Kruse was hit by a pitch to load the bases. Tatum came on board for a single, but Bronco confusion on third base opened the door for a Falcon double play taking out Scott and Callahan and leaving only Tatum and Kruse on base. That was enough for a final Broncos run. Thomson singled to left field, sending Kruse home.
With the score 7-2, the Falcons replaced pitcher Cooper with Cody Bever who got the final Bishop out of the inning.
The Falcons’ Isaac Shillig started the bottom of the fourth with a walk, followed by a Bever single. Coakley denied Penner a hit to left field, then got the double play with a throw to second to retire Bever. Shillig scored from second for the Falcons’ third run and a 7-3 score at the end of the fourth.
Bishop tacked on one more run in the fifth. Coakley doubled to left field. With two Bishop outs, Scott scored Coakley off a double to center.
With an 8-3 score, Bishop needed 5 runs to take out the Falcons on the mercy rule. They got all 5 in the top of the sixth. Kruse and Tatum led off with singles. Thomson got to first on a fielder’s choice that took out Kruse at third. Jared Davis’ walk loaded the bases, setting the stage for Watterson to send Tatum and Thomson home on a single.
Coakley was on a roll, finding the hole in center field for an RBI single as Davis crossed home plate. Scott found the hole in left field for a double, scoring Watterson and Coakley and putting Bishop a half-inning away from a mercy win with a 13-3 score.
Watterson secured the win, striking out Shillig; Davis fielded the ball for the second out and Neubauer retired the side on a pop fly to center field.
Doug Watterson pitched 6 innings, 0 earned runs, 11 strikeouts, 2 walks
Chance Callahan: 1 for 5
Tanner Kruse: 2 for 2 with a double
Keith Tatum: 3 for 4 with a home run and a double
Schain Thomson: 2 for 3
Nathan Coakley: 3 for 4 with 2 doubles
Cy Scott: 3 for 4 with a double