BASEBALL: Trailblazer home run sparks six point inning, defeats Marauders

The Golden West Trailblazers host the Monache Marauders for their first East Yosemite League game of the season and defeat the Marauders 9-3

VISALIA – After two innings with no scores, a home run from Golden West’s Nick Simon sparks a six-run inning for the Trailblazers that led them to victory over the Marauders.

The Trailblazers scored six runs in a single inning to pull ahead of the Marauders in their first league game on March 16 and scored three more runs to beat the Marauders 9-3. Simon, a senior, hit a home run off of Marauders pitcher AJ Cox early in the third inning. The run brought new life to the Trailblazers, who proceeded to score five more runs in the same inning.

“When Nick got the home run that kind of sparked us,” Golden West head coach Tom Buckley said. “Then we got going and got a couple of hits here and there and we put some pressure on [Cox].”

After not allowing a single run for two innings, the Marauders faltered after Simon’s early home run. The next four batters up for Golden West got on base and eventually made it home without getting out. In fact, it took the Marauders so long to get three outs, that the Trailblazers had gone through the entire batting order and the inning finished with Simon up at bat again. That time, he struck out, but it didn’t matter because the Trailblazers had collected their six runs and pulled off a massive lead over the Marauders.

In the first two innings, Cox was a tough opponent for the Trailblazers. His best pitch is his curveball, but he used a lot of fastballs. The Trailblazers remained patient and didn’t chase the high fastballs, which led to a lot of walks. Reeling in the third inning, the Marauders replaced Cox with senior Alfredo Martinez, who got three outs in three batters. Unfortunately, when he went up to bat in the top of the fifth, Martinez injured his knee and was replaced on the mound by junior Emmett Focke for the rest of the game.

The Marauders had a big home run in the top of the fourth, just after the Trailblazers’ winning inning. Junior Colton Isom came up to bat first for the Marauders and with three balls and two strikes, hit it out of the park. Isom is a key player for the Marauders with the ability to play several different infield positions. He shifted from first place to third base when Martinez went in for Cox and Cox moved to first base.

“We had an optional hitting practice yesterday because everything’s flooded out,” Monache head coach Jacob Williams said. “[Isom] hit for three hours in the cage. He just keeps grinding and that’s what the results show for themselves.”

Despite the home run from Isom, the Marauders couldn’t come up with the energy they needed to mount a comeback. They scored two more runs in the fifth and seventh innings, but it wasn’t enough to surpass the Trailblazers.

This was the first EYL matchup of the season that involved two teams that weren’t in the same league before. The four Visalia schools were moved from the WYL to the EYL, joining Monache and Porterville. As with other sports, the baseball league is shaping up to be a tough one for all of the teams.

“Anybody can beat anybody on any given day,” Buckley said. “Last year everybody was right in it until the end. I see it looking that bad again. I tell the boys to focus one game at a time. You can’t look beyond that.”

The Trailblazers will face the Mt. Whitney Pioneers next week on March 21 and the Marauders will head home and host the El Diamante Miners on the same day.

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