Shaky defense dooms Dinuba in league opener

Dinuba High’s Matthew Guido safely dives back into a dirt-covered third base as Hanford High third baseman Aiden Smith looks during the third inning of the Emperors’ 12-4 loss to Hanford High in a West Yosemite League baseball game on March 14. Dinuba led 3-1 through four innings before the Bullpups erupted for 11 runs in the final three frames.(Jon Earnest)

Visiting Hanford High capitalizes on multiple errors, scores six runs in the fifth inning to cruise to a 12-4 victory over Emperors

DINUBA – Dinuba High was halfway home to a successful start to the West Yosemite League baseball season Thursday night, but defensive breakdowns doomed the Emperors’ plans.

The visiting Hanford High Bullpups capitalized on three errors in the fifth inning, scoring six runs in the frame to take the lead for good and eventually cruise to a 12-4 victory. Dinuba finished the night with seven errors and managed just one run the final four innings while slipping to 2-8 on the season.

Christian Mendez and Carlos Perez Jr. collected two-run doubles in the decisive frame, which featured a pair of booted ground balls and a dropped popup. Mendez and outfielder Noah Gonzales each knocked in three runs for Hanford.

The Emperors’ Noah Gonzalez, a senior catcher, belted a first inning triple and also singled and scored in the third inning to account for two of Dinuba’s 10 hits. Matthew Guido also had a pair of hits, but the Emperors stranded a pair of runners in each of the final two innings.

Junior pitcher Austin Kelly started and worked five innings, allowing seven total runs. Relievers Dominic Gonzalez and Jayce Prendez allowed two and three runs, respectively.

Before the varsity game, Dinuba High honored all of the Dinuba Youth Baseball and elementary-middle school feeders programs. Young players took the field for special introductions and recognition.

Dinuba opens play in the Fowler Easter Baseball Classic on Saturday, playing the host Redcats (7-1) at 7 p.m. at Fowler High. The tournament will resume during holiday week with games against McLane (Saturday, March 23), Central Valley Christian (Monday, March 25) and an opponent to be determined on Tuesday, March 26.

Until then, the Emperors have WYL road games next week against Tulare Western (March 19, 4:30 p.m.) and Lemoore (March 21, 6 p.m.).

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