Baseball: Mt. Whitney opens league with loss to Lemoore

Jermaine Johnson II

The Pioneers lose their first two games of league before defeating Golden West

EXETER – If the West Yosemite League (WYL) is as competitive as the opening game between Mt. Whitney and Lemoore, it will be an arduous season for all six teams. The Pioneers fell to the Tigers 6-5 on Wednesday, April 21, after an extra inning, as their first three games were decided by a total of four runs.

Lemoore and Mt. Whitney each came into the opening WYL game with two and three losses, respectively. As the Pioneers trailed 4-2 in the bottom of the final inning, they had two outs with a man on first. An RBI single brought the team back to life, and a crucial error from the Tigers helped tie the score at four.

Lemoore senior pitcher Reese Sartin motioned as if he was attempting a pickoff at first for the third out of the inning, but he never let go of the ball. That resulted in a balk which brought home the game tying run. Mt. Whitney nearly had the game sealed but had a runner narrowly thrown out at home which sent the game to an extra inning.

The Tigers also waited until they had two outs in the top of the eighth inning before getting back on the board. Sartin redeemed himself for the balk with his lone hit of the game that resulted in an RBI to put his team back ahead by one. He ended up scoring the winning run after being brought home by an RBI double.

The Pioneers only scored one run in the bottom of the eighth as they went on to lose their first game of league play. They scored the game’s first run and was up 1-0 before a big four run inning from the Tigers in the third, which proved to be the difference in the game.

It was a crucial victory for the Lemoore baseball program as they’ve struggled to win close games in recent years.

“[This win] was very important because in the past few years we’ve always been the team where we can’t get over the hump, we lose the one run games and we’ve lost plenty of them,” Lemoore head coach Izzy Gonzalez said.

“It’s been quite a few years since we started 1-0 in league, so that’s a boost for the kids. Mentally it’s a positive in their minds.”

This year’s 2-1 start for Lemoore is the best start in the WYL since 2012 when they finished in second place with a 8-4 record. Following their win over Mt. Whitney, they defeated El Diamante 3-0 before falling to Redwood 11-0.

Three games into the WYL schedule, each team has a win and loss. Mt. Whitney lost their second game 5-3 against Hanford before defeating Golden West 6-5. Each team’s fourth game of the WYL schedule occurred yesterday after press time and the schedule will go on until June 1.

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