Trojans split two games; enter spring break at 4-1

By: By Nick Pecoraro/Telegraph Correspondent
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Oak Ridge pitchers Brogan Cooper, Connor Davis and Austin Root combined to scatter eight hits and allow only one run, as Oak Ridge defeated Yuba City Thursday, 4-1.

It’s Oak Ridge’s fourth win in five games this season, heading into the Boras Invitational at Elk Grove High over spring break.

Facing Oregon State-bound pitcher Chandler Eden, the Trojans figured it would be difficult to score, but managed two runs in the first inning and that’s all they needed.

Alec de Watteville drove in Mikey Meinhofer with a single and de Watteville later scored on a balk to account for Oak Ridge’s first two runs.

Tanner Ales added a two-out, two run single in the sixth as an added insurance run made the seventh inning a bit less stressful for Root, who pitched the final 2 1/3 inning, following an inning of relief by Davis, to earn the save.


Elk Grove 6, Oak Ridge 5

Two days earlier, Oak Ridge suffered its first defeat of the 2013 season, but the Trojans were no pushover in their 6-5 loss to Elk Grove, the top-ranked team in the Sacramento area.

The Trojans gave Elk Grove (5-1) a shove in their last at-bat and had the winning run aboard before finally succumbing to the visiting Herd. Oak Ridge Coach Todd Melton knows that his squad will be able to compete with anybody this season.

“We’re easily as good as those guys (Elk Grove),” he said after the game. “They’ve got some blue chip type players. There was a little bit of gripping and nervous energy in the beginning because I still don’t think we know just how good we are yet. We’re coming away from this game pretty hungry.”

Down three runs in the bottom of the seventh, Oak Ridge plated two runs on FP Santangelo’s bases-loaded single, bringing the score to 6-5. Elk Grove received what proved to be an invaluable insurance run in the top half of the seventh on a somewhat questionable call.

With the bases full, Herd third baseman Landon Gastelum was awarded first base on a pitch that the home plate umpire originally ruled a foul ball off the knob of his bat. After protest from Elk Grove coach Jeff Carlson, the call was overturned and ruled a hit-by-pitch, forcing in the eventual game-winning run for the Herd.

Until that point, Trojan reliever Ryan Sullivan was magnificent out of the bullpen. The sophomore tossed 4 1/3 innings without surrendering an earned run and striking out five hitters.

“Sully’s one heck of a sophomore pitcher. The sky’s the limit for him,” said Melton.

Oak Ridge opened up the scoring in the first. After Meinhofer fisted a single into right and Logan Denholm doubled off the left field fence, de Watteville’s sharp grounder snuck past the Herd third baseman to score Meinhofer for a 1-0 lead.

The Herd lined six singles in the third inning and put a five-spot on the board behind a pair of run-scoring knocks from top players Dom Nunez and Ryan Tellez. A couple of Oak Ridge errors allowed two more runs and gave Elk Grove a four-run lead.

Oak Ridge answered back in the bottom of the third with an RBI single from Ales and a run-scoring triple from Logan Marston to make it 5-3.

Trojan starter Tommy Hummer pitched well through the first two frames. With runners on second and third and nobody out in the first, Hummer got both Herd sluggers Nunez and Tellez to strikeout looking before escaping the jam unharmed. He then retired the side in order on just six pitches in the second inning.

“We had so many opportunities. Early in the game, we had runners in scoring position with less than two outs. We just didn’t take advantage of it,” said Melton. “If we can take the sense of urgency like we had in the last inning in our early at-bats, then we’re right there. We have just as much talent as anybody. We just have to continue to get better every day.”