By Patrick Dillon @PDillon_SGN
HANFORD – The Strathmore Spartans were intimidated before they even walked on the diamond with the five time, defending East Sequoia League champions, Sierra Pacific Golden Bears, and it resulted in a 9-2 loss.
“We’ve got to get over the fear if we are to ever get to the next level,” Strathmore head coach Thad Reece said.
Sierra Pacific (11-1, 5-0) threw their number two pitcher Zach Barber. The right-hander’s off-speed pitches forced Strathmore’s (6-4-1, 3-2) batters to hit more balls into the ground. Strathmore did have a bases-loaded situation in the top of the sixth, but hit into a double play which ended the inning.
In the field, Strathmore struggled to put outs on the board. They committed eight errors, and 15 walks in the game. Many of those walks were intentional in order to give Strathmore’s fielders a force.
Despite the overwhelming number of baserunners, Strathmore held Sierra Pacific to just a single run in each of the four innings. That was until Sierra Pacific’s offense broke through in the fifth inning with a four-run frame.
Reece’s son, William, finished with a perfect 3-3 and scored one of Strathmore’s two runs.
“He is one of the fastest high school baseball players I’ve seen in a while,” Thad said. “He puts a lot of pressure on the defense.”
A lot of it comes from William’s natural ability to bunt the ball. A skill which is sometimes lost on players at the high school level.
Aidan Jackson got the loss after pitching 3.2 innings. He gave up five runs on four hits on six days rest. Only two of those runs were earned.
“He has really put up some good numbers for being a freshmen,” Thad said.
Strathmore completed the first round of ESL play last night against their arch rival Lindsay Cardinals. Results were reached after press time. Lindsay defeated Strathmore during last season’s Division VI playoffs 12-6.
“Lindsay is definitely the team to beat, and we are going to have to play a lot better than we did against Sierra Pacific,” Thad said.