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West Ranch's comeback bid falls short to De La Salle

Posted: July 21, 2013 9:24 p.m.
Updated: July 21, 2013 9:24 p.m.

If the coaches and players for the West Ranch baseball program did not fully grasp what it meant to be playing in the California Classic, a showcase that features some of the top ranked teams from across the state, they sure did by the fifth inning of their final game against Concord De La Salle on Sunday.

In the top of the inning, the visiting Spartans piled eight runs on the Wildcats, opening at a 10-run lead that would prove to be insurmountable.

However, instead of lying down and giving up without a fight, West Ranch showed why they are starting to become a name in Southern California baseball. The Wildcats made De La Salle sweat by scoring six runs in the bottom of the sixth inning, but the Spartans held on to win 11-8 at West Ranch High School.

“We like to see that fight and spirit at the end of the game,” West Ranch head coach Casey Burrill said. “We had some guys battle for us and that’s good, because we were getting beat up in the middle of the game.”

It was a rocky start for the Wildcats as starting pitcher Sean O’Shea hit the first batter of the game and an error on a double play opportunity with one out, left the bases loaded. The Spartans eventually plated three runners during the inning on only three singles.

The Wildcats got on the board in the bottom of the second as Addison Jackson scored from first on a Jake Bird double that sailed into the gap between center and left field.

After facing some trouble in the first, O’Shea found his stride, striking out five batters while giving up only one hit over the next three innings.

He ended up giving up two earned runs of four hits in four innings of work.

The top of the fifth is where the wheels fell off for the Wildcats, who were down 3-1 at the time.

With two outs and runners on first and third, pitcher Eric Williams threw to second as the Spartans attempted a double steal. However, instead of tagging the runner for the third out, the second baseman threw home and missed the runner. Five hits, three errors and a hit batter later, the Wildcats had given up eight runs.

West Ranch scored in the bottom of the fifth as Jake Spurlin grounded into a fielder’s choice that plated Blake Baumgartner and then exploded with five hits and three hit batters in the sixth to score six runs.

Kyle Paguio pitched two strong innings of scoreless relief to keep De La Salle from adding any more runs, but the Wildcats failed to produce in the bottom of the seventh.

Jackson led the way for the West Ranch offense, finishing 3-for-4 with two runs and an RBI.

“It feels good. Last year I just played defense, so I’ve worked really hard,” Jackson said.

With the loss the Wildcats finish the inaugural California Classic with a 1-3 record.


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