By Patrick Dillon @PDillon_SGN
WOODLAKE – After beginning the season with five straight losses, the Tigers have turned their season around and won their second game 18-1 in five innings over the Lindsay Cardinals.
The main reason for Woodlake’s (2-5, 2-1) brief turnaround has been the focus on defense. Earlier in the season they struggled with errors which took them out of competition against tougher opponents. As a result they started off their season 0-5.
Recently, Woodlake has limited those mistakes. Last Wednesday, the Tigers went error-less in their win over Lindsay (3-6, 0-3). The only run Woodlake gave up was off a ground ball for a single up the middle in the top of the first inning
“If we minimize the errors, we can beat anyone in this league,” Woodlake head coach Manny Martinez said.
The lack of errors has allowed the Tigers’ offense the chance to jump out in front of their opponents instead of having to fight out of a deficit. Pria Bun in the second inning delivered a three-run homer knocking the ball straight away to center. It was her third homer of the season.
Bun finished the game going 3-4 with four RBIs and scored two runs.
Even before Bun’s home run it was not difficult for the Tigers to get on the scoreboard. In the first two innings Woodlake had 11 walks and three of their batters were hit. Four of their runs were scored on free bases.
Eventually, in a show of sportsmanship, Martinez began to pull his baserunners off the bags before the pitch was thrown resulting in an out for Woodlake.
“I’ve been in those games before, and it is not fun,” Martinez said.
Every outing for the Tigers is not going to be this easy, however. That is why Martinez has spent much of the season developing Woodlake’s pitchers. Madison Ramos got the win in 4.2 innings. She had five strike outs, gave up four hits and one errant run.
Ramos is only one of three Woodlake arms an East Sequoia League opponent could see in any given game.
Caitlyn Taylore, a transfer from Sierra Pacific, is another. She has pitched eight innings in her four appearances this season. She has four strike outs.
Then there is Leah Martinez. She has a 1-0 record in three appearances, and has nine strikeouts.
Martinezz believes that this trio of pitchers will be the reason why Woodlake makes a improvement this season.
Woodlake had another chance to climb in the standings last night against first place Corcoran Panthers. Results were reached after press time.
Thursday, Woodlake returns home to face the Granite Hills Grizzlies at 3:30 p.m.