Woodlake defeats Granite Hills 16-10 as the teams battle twice before their two league matchups
WOODLAKE – When baseball received the green light to return over a month ago, athletic directors began scrambling to assemble schedules for their teams. Some schools have had better luck than others which has led to league rivals Woodlake and Granite Hills scheduling two uncommon preseason matchups before their two league games later in the season. The Tigers got the upper hand in the first matchup as they earned their second win of their young season.
According to Woodlake head coach Juan Gamez, the bats woke up for his team on Wednesday, April 14. Their 16 runs were double the number of runs they scored in their first win against Parlier, two weeks prior. They fell behind early as Granite Hills scored three runs to open the game. They weren’t down for long as they responded with five runs of their own to close out the first inning.
The next two innings was all Woodlake as they scored three runs in the second and one more in the third to go up 9-3. Miscues and miscommunications from both sides led to many defensive errors, resulting in multiple runs throughout the game.
Granite Hills got back on the board in the fourth as they had the bases loaded on three different occasions, yet left the inning with only three runs to show for it. Their defense tightened up as they allowed just one run in the bottom of the inning which put them down 10-6. They opened the fifth inning on a mission to get back in the game. The Tigers switched pitchers as senior Isaiah Delacruz came in to relieve senior David Meza, but that didn’t stop the Grizzlies from scoring three straight runs and loading the bases with no outs. Delacruz finally got a strikeout to stop half the momentum, and he only gave up one more run in the inning as the two teams were tied at 10 heading into the bottom of the fifth.
According to Granite Hills head coach Al Garcia, the bottom of his lineup led the comeback attempt. Seniors Christian Chavez and Chris Duran led the way with the first two runs scored.
Woodlake immediately shifted the momentum back into their favor. They saved their best inning for last as they exploded for six runs in the fifth inning to close out Granite Hills. They were led by a good mix and young and old players as freshman Ismael Pena, sophomore Brandon Huntington, and senior Alex Perez each accounted for three hits and three runs during the game. Delacruz was a jack of all trades as he closed the game on the mound and also led the team with four runs scored.
Coach Gamez is in his first season as varsity head coach after being called up as the junior varsity head coach last season. Normally by this point in the season the team would be in the double digits of games played, but they are currently sitting at 2-2 with only four games over the last three weeks. Things are starting to pick up as they will be playing two games a week the rest of the way.
According to Gamez, the lack of games has actually helped his team prepare more during practice, get more reps, and focus on the little things they need to get better at. As he works to build his own winning culture at Woodlake, he will be in good shape over the next few years. While he will be losing several key seniors, seven of the 16 runs were scored by underclassmen.