It was a rough week for Globe pitching, as the Miami Vandals handed the team its second mercy rule loss of the week on Thursday, March 7.
Vandal lefty No. 11 Matheu Escobedo — who played a big role in Miami’s gridiron victory in the Copper Kettle bowl last October — took an inning to get into a groove, but after giving up two runs in the first he was on a roll.
The Tigers were not so lucky, as the tired arms of the Globe pitching staff quickly surrendered the lead in the bottom of the inning, never to regain momentum.
The game followed a similar pattern to the loss to Ray earlier in the week, with walks and wild pitches sprinkled in with solid defensive work by the Tigers.
Starting pitcher No. 13 Jace O’Conner worked from a deficit from the get-go, as an error by shortstop No. 4 Seth Comstock off a Jayden Goss (Vandals No. 2) grounder put the first Miami runner on base. While O’Conner looked good striking out Langdon Koyayseva (Vandals No. 9), despite giving up a stolen base to Goss, he walked the next three batters and a flyout by Vandal catcher N. 12 Tyree Koyayseva drove in two runs.
From there, the meltdown continued, and after giving up three more walks O’Conner was lifted for No. 3 Seth Durbin, who faced a 4-2 deficit.
Durbin was able to get Goss to fly out deep to left to end the inning, but in the bottom of the inning the game continued to unravel for the Tigers.
The Vandals struck quickly in the second. After a pair of walks, Miami No. 1 Gabe Escobedo doubled deep to left to drive in a run. A wild pitch brought in another run to take the score to 6-2 and by the end of the inning, the Tigers were down by a score of 9-2.
The Vandals scored four more runs in the third and capped the scoring with four in the fourth.
Two more pitching changes for Globe failed to stop the bleeding and after a futile top of the fifth for the Tigers, the mercy rule was put into effect for a Vandal victory and a score of 17-2.
Photo by David Abbott
The play of Tiger third baseman Damon Encizo was a high point of a disappointing loss to the Ray Bearcats last Tuesday, March 5 in Globe.
After scoring a quick run in the first, the Ray Bearcats came out swinging in the third, eventually evoking the mercy rule on the way to a 20-0 victory over the Tigers last Tuesday (March 5) in Globe.
Tiger third base No. 18 Damon Encizo almost single-handedly put the Bearcats down in the second with sterling play on the hot corner. The freshman infielder made two sparkling plays to give Globe a chance to hang, but masterful pitching performances by Ray No. 5 Derek Figueroa and No. 10 Jayden Lagunas kept the Tigers at bay, while Globe pitching struggled to keep it together.
In the bottom of the second, Figueroa puzzled Tiger hitters with a crafty mix of speed and ball movement to keep the boys in orange and black off balance, striking out the Tigers in order.
In the top of the third, the onslaught began. The first batter, No. 42 Jack Warren, reached on an error followed by two singles to load the bases.
After Tiger pitcher No. 24 Patrick Tarango struck out Ray No. 17 Anthony Lopez, the hits started coming for the Bearcats. By the time the dust settled, Ray was up 6-0 after a 5-run inning.
The top of the fourth saw the breakdown of Globe pitching and the beginning of mental mistakes by the young Tiger team.
The inning began with an error by Globe third-baseman Encizo. Relief pitcher No. 20 John Denver then lost control, hitting Bearcats No. 2 Jaden Pace after a balk to put runners on first and second. A wild pitch and a single hung two more runs on the board for Ray for a score of 8-0.
Denver then struck out Lagunas, throwing a wild pitch that scored Ray No. 25 Alex Bravo from third. A passed ball plated the fourth run of the inning, mercifully ending on a lineout to third, for a score of 10-0 Ray.
The top of the fifth proved to be the Tigers’ undoing, as Ray scored 10 runs, with Globe emptying its bullpen.
A one-two-three bottom of the fifth kicked in the mercy rule to end the Tigers’ suffering.
Ray Coach Frank Lechuga was pleased with his pitching and the overall play of his team. He said Ray is on the upswing now, as his squad has played together for a few years, but added local high school sports is cyclical and after the Bearcats have their run, it will be time for other schools in the state 2A division.
“We’re sitting on a lot of talent and should be competitive for the next few years,” he said. “But then it will be someone else’s turn: Globe or Miami. Superior is up now but in a few years they might not be.”
Globe Coach Morales was philosophical about the loss and heartened by the performance of the junior varsity Tigers later that afternoon.
“It starts with ourselves and our efforts have to go up,” he said. “When we mess up, we can’t mail it in.”
Ray starting pitcher Derek Figueroa was in top form on March 5, mowing down Globe hitters. Photo by David Abbott.