By Jocelyn Cervantes
Friday afternoon the varsity baseball game started with the boys hitting the field with their Tiller Buddy. The starting lineup of Friday’s game: Tony Barrios (pitcher), Hector Rivera (catcher), Blake Akins (first base), Brian Nguyen (second base), Brennan Black (third base), Anthony Walters (Shortstop), David Bohorquez (left field), Dailin Lee (center field), and Dustin Durand (right field).
Tony Barrios smoothly struck out the Indio Rajas in the first and second innings. In the second, first to bat, Cole Hoskins walked to first and stole second as Hector Rivera stepped up to bat; he was walked. Just like Cole and Hector, Dustin Durand, with four balls, walked to first, shifting Cole to third and Hector to second. With bases loaded, Blake Akins hit a triple, sending Cole, Hector, and Dustin running across home giving the Tillers a lead of 3-0.
In the third, the Indio Rajas lucked out on offense as the Tillers struggled defensively allowing the Rajas to score three runs. The Tillers fought back when Dailin Lee hit a single and stole second. Next up, David Bohorquez with a hit. Dailin reached third base while Bohorquez was tagged out. Afterward, Cole Hoskins hit a double sending Dailin home: Tillers-4 Rajas-3. The score remained constant as the Tillers advanced into the fourth, and during the fifth inning, the Rajas scored another run tying the score at 4.
In the sixth, the Rajas scored another run. Then Cole Hoskins hit a single sending the ball into left field. The ball bounced off and smacked right into a Rajas player, Jonathan Diaz’s (#12) face. Diaz was escorted off the field and the game resumed. Teammate Brian Nguyen pinch ran for Cole after his hit. During Dustin Durand’s at-bat, Nguyen stole third base. Dustin hit a single sending Brian home and giving the Tillers the lead 5-4.
During the seventh inning, the Rajas scored another run. The Tillers knew they had to score another run to win, and not be forced into another inning. Tension filled the air as the seventh started with Tiller Tony Barrios. Barrios hit a walk-off home run causing Tiller fans to jump in excitement. The Varsity boys ran out and waited for veteran Barrios to complete the run. The boys dog-piled Tony as he walked across home and gave Tony the traditional “Gatorade Shower.”
A dry Tony Barrios commented after the game,“On the mound I knew the team was gonna battle in the box, but I knew I just had to be myself. In the third inning I really struggled with commanding my curve ball and secondary pitch and obviously I was taken out because I didn’t do that. And then in the batter’s box in the last inning I knew we were tied, so I was just trying to get on base. So I just took a swing and fortunately went over the fence.”
A few players commented on their upcoming season:
Blake Akins (junior): “We expect to win league like we always have, rock the expectations, but considering other teams in our league, we at least expect to get far and make playoffs.”
Cole Hoskins (junior): “I think we’re gonna finish pretty strong. I mean, it’s been a little bit of a rough start but we’ve been doing good lately, winning the last three has helped a lot and I think we should be good the rest of the season.”
Tony Barrios (junior): “I think we’re gonna do good. We are right now, but it’s only the beginning of the season and we haven’t even got to league yet. We still have a couple more games against good teams and I think that we’re gonna do good besides what people think of us.”
Anthony Walters (juniors): “Our season is gonna go really well if we could do the things we are taught and play like I know we can play.”
Brian Nguyen (freshman): “I expect it to go great because our hitting is very well as well as our defense. We just need to work on our pitching and throw strikes.”
Photo taken by: Tanya Soto