By Jocelyn Cervantes
Tustin High’s varsity baseball Empire League began on Wednesday, April 15 against Western High School when the Tillers dominated the Pioneers 12-0. The Tillers were ready to defeat the Pioneers again on Friday, April 17 on their home field. With the start of league, transfer Austyn Tengan (junior) was allowed to play, “It feels great to be back. Sitting on the bench is a little tough watching them but I’m ready to play now.” Freshman Matthew Elizalde was moved from JV to varsity. Friday’s starters included Tony Barrios (pitcher), David Bohorquez (catcher), Blake Akins (first base), Austyn Tengan (second base), Brennan Black (third base), Anthony Walters (short-stop), Dalton Rasmussen (left field), Dailin Lee (right field), and Dustin Durand (right field).
Veteran Barrios quickly and skillfully struck out the Western Pioneers. With no runs, the Pioneers switched to offense as the Tillers’ Lee prepared to bat. After Lee and Tengan were tagged out, Walters hit a single. Captain Bohorquez with a single, sent Walters to second. Cole Hoskins walked to first, shifting Walters to third and Bohorquez to second. With two outs and bases loaded, Blake Akins unfortunately struck out ending the first with no runs.
After two outs in the second, Rasmussen hit a double, followed by Lee’s double that sent Rasmussen home. The second ended after Tengan struck out giving the Tillers the lead, 1-0.
During the third, Walters hit a single and moved to second after a single from Bohorquez. Next to bat, Hoskins was tagged out before reaching first, but successfully sent Walters to third and Bohorquez to second. Unfortunately neither Akins nor Durand were able to sent Walters home, both striking out. The third ended with a tie, Tillers-1 Pioneers-1.
The Tillers struggled in the fourth as the Pioneers made two runs and successfully tagged out Black and Rasmussen before Lee hit an epic bomb. Tengan struck out, giving the Pioneers the lead, 3-2.
During the fifth, after Walters and Bohorquez were tagged out, Hoskins hit a triple. But the Tiller’s luck stopped there, as Akins struck out and was unable to sent Hoskins home.
The Tillers entered the sixth with Hoskins pitching. He successfully struck out the Pioneers. The Tiller’s defense took the field with determination. First at bat, Durand walked to first and pinch hit for Domnick Lokeijack. After Brian Nguyen struck out, Rasmussen hit a double sending Lokeijack home. Lee walked to first, followed by Tengan, which shifted Rasmussen to third and Lee to second. With bases loaded, Walters was walked to first, shifting the runners and sending Rasmussen home. Bohorquez was tagged out before Lee could reach home ending the sixth.
The Tillers emerged into the seventh inning with a 4-3 lead, and smoothly struck out the Pioneers executing a 4-3 Tiller victory.
Starting Pitcher Tony Barrios commented after the game, “I knew that the team we played we beat pretty well the first game and I didn’t want to keep that in mind because I knew that if I did they would play better than us, so I pitched like I usually do and keep the ball going.” Anthony Walters added, “Play like we did Wednesday. We jumped on top of them and just kept on scoring runs on Wednesday and we tried to recreate that momentum today.”