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BASEBALL: Trailblazers take back the lead in third inning, beat Panthers

Golden West Trailblazers come back from three-run deficit to beat Porterville Panthers

PORTERVILLE – Matt Gomez and David Rodriguez led the Trailblazers to a comeback victory over the Panthers with four hits each.

The Golden West Trailblazers beat the Porterville Panthers 13-6 after falling behind by three runs in the first two innings in their game on Tuesday, May 2. Despite scoring first, the Trailblazers needed to make a comeback from a 4-1 deficit and made it happen in the third inning. The Trailblazers scored five runs to pull ahead and never lost the lead. Matt Gomez and David Rodriguez both had four hits with five runs between the two of them to lead the Trailblazers to victory.

“We haven’t done that in awhile,” Golden West head coach Tom Buckley said. “Earlier in the year we had come back on some teams. Hitting is contagious and we had some guys that hit the ball really well today.”

Alex Lopez and Nick Simon kicked off the big inning for the Trailblazers with a base hit each. Gomez came up third and hit a big double to send both Lopez and Simon home to tie the game at four runs. Not stopping there, Rodriguez batted in Gomez for the game winner. After that Porterville brought in a new pitcher. They changed pitchers again only two batters later when Golden West only continued their momentum.

That momentum carried through the fourth inning, with four more runs for the Trailblazers. Rodriguez batted in two more runs, then was sent home himself off of a bunt by Anthony Tost. In the middle of it all, Gomez stole home as Rodriguez distracted the Panthers by stealing second. He got caught in between the second and first baseman, both prepared to tag him, but managed to make it to second. Nobody noticed Gomez run home in the middle of it all.

“[Golden West] hit the ball,” Porterville head coach Pete Carganilla said. “They did everything they were supposed to do.”

The Trailblazers lost both games the last two times they faced the Panthers. First the Panthers won 6-5 on March 28, then 5-3 two days later. The two teams were neck and neck for fourth place in the East Yosemite League with Porterville taking the lead by a single win. With their victory today, the Trailblazers are now 4-9 in league and tied with the Panthers in the standings.

“They kind of came back on us and they’re kind of a scary team,” Buckley said. “That third baseman, Torres, he can hit the heck out of the ball.”

Louie Torres scored two runs for the Panthers, first in the first inning, then in the fifth. After the Trailblazers took the lead, the Panthers only scored two more runs. Torres and Jonathan Delgado both scored in the fifth inning. Torres is also a talented pitcher and despite going through four pitchers, he was never called to the mound.

The Panthers will play El Diamante on May 4 and are probably saving Torres to pitch against the team ranked second in the EYL. The Panthers have lost to the Miners twice this season, but with only two games left before playoffs, they need to bring out all the stops to move up.

The Trailblazers also have a tough game coming up. They’ll face the Redwood Rangers, the top team in the league, on May 4. With El Diamante on the schedule for their final game, this win against Porterville was crucial for the Trailblazers to secure a better spot for the playoffs.

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