By: Jocelyn Cervantes
After defeating Kennedy on Tuesday, May 12 with a score of 3-1 by a skillful pitching performance from veteran Tony Barrios, the Tillers hit the field Friday afternoon determined to win.
Starters for the game included seniors Jose Ayala (pitching, captain), Hector Rivera (catching, captain), Tyler Ryan (first base), Brennan Black (third base), Jesus Inocencio (left field) Domnick Lokeijack (center field), Dustin Durand (right field).
Out due to injury, captain Nick Jacobson played second base, “My hand was very unexpected and it’s taken me a long time to get back but I’m extremely happy where I’m at. I’m a little frustrated sometimes with my hitting because I’m not 100% there but it’s great to be back on the baseball field. Honestly, the first time I got to step back out here was one of the best moments of my junior year. I had a blast whether I was playing or not; it was fun with these guys.” Junior Anthony Walters took his usual position on the field, shortstop.
With a solid performance from the Tillers, Ayala quickly struck out Kennedy’s first batter, Inocencio tagged out the second batter and Durand tagged out the third. First up to bat for the Tillers, Dalton Rasmussen was tagged out, followed by Durand who struck out. Walters was tagged out before he could reach first base.
The offense began with Rivera hitting a double and a pinch hit for Myles Thompson, followed by Black, and Ryan walked to first. With bases loaded, Inocencio with a bunt was tagged out after sending Thompson home. With Black on third and Ryan on second, David Bohorquez hit a single, sending Black and Ryan sliding across home. Jackson pinch ran for Bohorquez. Next, Lokeijack walked to first and with Rasmussen at bat, Jacobson and Lokeijack stole third and second base respectively. Jacobson was tagged out along with Rasmussen who struck out. The Tillers took the lead, 3-0.
The third started with senior Cory Bradley pitching in for Ayala. The Tillers struck out the Fighting Irish and Durad was first up and hit a single. Walters and Rivera struck out. With Durand at second, Black hit a double, sending Durand home. Up next, Ryan hits a single. Inocencio hits the ball, sends Black home and Ryan to third. With Inocencio trapped between first and second, Ryan sees the opportunity to run for home, but the Fighting Irish are fast and their second baseman throws the ball home, ultimately tagging Ryan out. The Tillers maintain the lead 5-0.
Cole Hoskins began the fourth with a skillful pitching execution and promptly struck out the Fighting Irish. Jacobson started the offense for the Tillers and walked to first. As Dailin Lee walks up to bat, Jacobson steals second. Lee smacked the ball, but was tagged out; Jacobson ran for third. Up next, Rasmussen hit a double, sending Tiller fans in excitement as Jacobson crossed home. Next, Durand struck out, Rasmussen moved to third. Walters, with the RBI, sent Rasmussen home. Brian Nguyen pinch ran for Walters. Rivera walked to first, shifting Nguyen to second. The fourth ended when Black was tagged out. Tillers: 7 Fighting Irish:0
With bases loaded, the Fighting Irish made their first run. Their luck stopped there as the Tillers dominated them with three quick outs. Ryan was the first to strike out. Blake Akins hit a single, Inocencio pinch ran for Akins. Inocencio was tagged out when he ran for second after Austyn Tengan’s single. Next, Lee struck out. The Tillers struck out before anyone could make it home.
Rasmussen pitched and expeditiously struck out the Fighting Irish, but had no luck on offense. Ryan and Barrios struck out as well.
Catcher Matthew Elizalde entered the game in the last inning. Standing at 6’2, not many know the young freshman moved up from JV to Varsity the beginning of Empire League. “It’s been tough during practice but in the end it’s really worth every second of it ,and I’ve improved in many things. It’s really exciting to say that I’m a freshman on varsity, being able to be a part of the varsity team and getting to know the seniors before they leave.” With a skillful pitching and catching performance from Rasmussen and Elizalde, the Tillers instantaneously struck out the Fighting Irish ending the game 7-1.
With a seventh win, the Tillers ended Empire League with a second place finish. The Tillers made CIF Playoffs which will begin Tuesday, May 19.