By Jocelyn Cervantes, Editor
After defeating the Hillcrest Trojans and the Murrieta Valley Nighthawks, the Tustin Tillers varsity baseball team went up against the Long Beach Poly Jackrabbits Monday afternoon. “Keep the momentum going from Saturday. We had a good couple games on Saturday and we just wanted to keep the streak going,” commented junior Anthony Walters. Starters for the game were Cole Hoskins (pitcher), David Bohorquez (catcher), Blake Akins (first base), Brian Nguyen (second base), Brennan Black (third base), Anthony Walters (shortstop), Jesus Inocencio (left field), Dailin Lee (center field), and Dustin Durand (right field).
The first for the Tillers began with Walters being tagged out. Next, Hoskins struck out. Lee moved to first after being hit by the pitcher. Akins was tagged out, ending the first inning with a score 0-0. The Tillers advanced to the second inning.
In the second, the Jackrabbit’s offense scored their first run while the Tillers had no luck advancing a player, giving the Jackrabbits the lead 0-1. During the third, the Tiller’s defense skillfully struck out the Jackrabbits but were still struggling to land a player on base. The Tillers had more luck in the fourth, as Hoskins landed himself on second base; but their luck stopped there. The Tillers were unsuccessful in scoring a run, keeping a constant score 0-1.
The Tillers lifted their spirits and hit the fifth with energy and grit. First to bat, Durand, hit by a pitch, walked to first. Rivera with a double, sent Durand to third. After Black and Tony Barrios were struck out, Walters walked up to bat, determined to send Durand home. With a double, Walters sent Durand and Rivera running across home base. The fans jumped in excitement and joy. With Walters on base, Hoskins recreated Walter’s performance, hitting a double and sending Walters home. The fifth ended for the Tillers after Lee was tagged out, giving the Tillers a lead 3-1 lead.
The sixth began with Jose Ayala pitching in for Hoskins. The Jackrabbits came back on the offense and scored another two runs, and prevented the Tillers from scoring. With the game tied, and everyone agitated, the Jackrabbits and Tillers advanced to the last inning.
The defense skillfully struck out the Jackrabbits with no runs. First to bat was Dalton Rasmussen with a single. Nguyen, with a bunt, was tagged out, the first strike for the Tillers. Rasmussen ran for second. Walters walked to first base. After Ayala hit a single, Walters was tagged out. Rasmussen ran for third. Lee walked to first, shifting Ayala to second. With bases loaded and two outs, anxious fans watched as veteran Akins walked to bat. Akins swung and sent the ball flying. Rasmussen ran across home ending the game 4-3. The varsity boys ran onto the field celebrating Akins’ walk-off base hit.
Junior Blake Akins commented after the game, “Our approach today we wanted to come out and play really hard. We knew that one more game would be a winning streak and we got a really good one going. We’re in tournament so we know that we gotta win to get to the championship. We wanna do that again, we were there last year and we didn’t end up winning it but this year I feel we have a shot.”