Dinuba baseball’s 9-run outburst overpowers Tulare

Tulare Union High’s Brayden Stevenson (4) slides into second base while Dinuba High shortstop Matthew Guido fields the throw during the Emperors’ 12-4 West Yosemite League victory over the Tribe on April 2. Sophomore outfielder Stevenson went 1-for-4 with a run scored.(Jon Earnest)

Emperors equal season high for runs in an inning to wipe out early deficit in first of two straight West Yosemite League home games

DINUBA – Dinuba High put up a rarely-reached crooked number for the second time this season, keeping themselves in the midst of a tight West Yosemite League baseball title chase.

The Emperors (6-11) wiped out a three-run deficit with nine runs in the third inning, seizing command and cruising to a 12-4 victory over Tulare Union on Tuesday night at Washington Intermediate School diamond. It marked the second nine-run inning in three weeks for Dinuba, which accomplished the feat on March 16 in an 11-1 drubbing of Fowler High at the Fowler Easter Classic.

The comeback kept the Emps in a four-way deadlock for second place at 2-2 behind Tulare Western (4-0), which defeated Lemoore 7-1 on Tuesday. The visiting Tribe (4-11, 0-4) fell into the cellar after three pitchers issued 12 walks, five in the decisive third inning.

Dinuba coach Brent Morrelli said his team’s patience and discipline at the plate have been keys in the team’s recent turnaround, which has included a road win at Central Valley Diamond Classic champion Lemoore.

“I don’t know if I’ve ever been around a team with as much firepower as our guys have shown,” he said. “Really good tough at-bats that frustrate the pitcher.”

That was on full display in the outburst against Tulare. A leadoff walk by Matthew Guido and single by Noah Gonzalez was followed by a two-run triple to the fence in right by Anthony Pompa (2-for-3, three RBI). Paul Huerta then tied the game with a line drive single past shortstop.

Dinuba continued its plate patience against Tribe starter Matthew Beason, drawing two more walks followed by an RBI (runs batted in) hit from Daniel Pruneda and two-run single by Carmelo Mendoza to make it 6-3 and bring on Connor Wiltse in relief of Beason. Eric Contreras walked to load the bases, Guido delivered an RBI sacrifice fly to center and Pompa avoided a tag reach base on an infield grounder before a wild pitch plated the frame’s final run.

Dinuba’s base running also contributed to the big run outburst, as the Emperors collected eight stolen bases including two by Contreras.

“I think they realize what they’re capable of, now it’s just a matter of cleaning things up,” Morrelli said of his squad. “It seemed like (the win over Fowler) was kind of getting the monkey off our back, and the next step was that we have the capability of playing some good baseball.”

DInuba pitchers Austin Kelly and Dominic Gonzalez were able to work around some bouts of wildness and shaky fielding (The Emps committed seven errors but still managed to turn two double plays) to limit the Tribe to just five hits. Starter Kelly allowed four hits and struck out six, and worked out of a bases-loaded jam in the fourth.

Junior lefty Gonzalez worked the final three frames, overcoming three walks while allowing just one hit and an earned run and collecting two strikeouts. Catcher Maryk Heffley had two hits for Tulare.

The Emperors host Mission Oak (9-7, 2-2) in a 7 p.m. WYL matchup Thursday night, before playing a league home and home against Hanford on Tuesday, April 9 (4:30 p.m. in Hanford) and Friday, April 12 (7 p.m. in Dinuba).  Tulare plays at league leader Tulare Western Thursday at 4:30 p.m. before taking on Lemoore in two games next week.

Start typing and press Enter to search