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Gilroy's Michael Stevens (10) welcomes Josh Sterling (3) back to

Gilroy holds off Sobrato for 2-1 TCAL victory at home
Gilroy – The first time the Gilroy and Sobrato baseball teams met this season, the Mustangs scored 11 runs in the first inning and were ready to call it a day after the fifth in a 14-2 win.

But the second meeting between the two teams Wednesday was a battle for all seven innings.

And the Mustangs had Sobrato’s No. 1 pitcher Tim Bulch, to thank for that.

“He has a nasty change-up,” said Gilroy first baseman Ryan Evanger, whose sixth-inning RBI single to right field for Gilroy’s second run proved to be the difference-maker in the game. “We started to be a little more patient. Scooting up in the box really helped.”

After Bulch and Gilroy starter Jeremy Teschera battled each other for four scoreless innings, Gilroy finally pushed across runs in the fifth and sixth innings and escaped a late Bulldog rally to win 2-1.

Gilroy (5-4 overall), which easily beat North Salinas 12-0 last Thursday, improved to 3-1 in Tri-County Athletic League play. Sobrato, which fell just short of unbeaten Palma 6-5 last week, dropped to 0-3-1 in TCAL and 1-8-1 overall.

All Gilroy had to do in the seventh inning was hold Sobrato, which had mustered just one hit in six innings off lefty Teschera (3-0).

But the Bulldogs wouldn’t go away so easily. Sobrato’s Danny Nelson and Michael Guio ripped singles off Teschera to open the seventh. With runners on the corners, Gilroy head coach Clint Wheeler moved closer Drew Andersen from shortstop to the mound.

The senior got Bulch to pop up to catcher Chris Hernandez for the first out.

Then some unexpected drama made things a little more interesting for the Mustangs.

With Sobrato’s Taylor O’Connell at the plate, Guio attempted to steal second, getting a late jump. Hernandez’s throw down to second baseman Matt Hemeon was right on the money. He tagged Guio, who didn’t slide and ended up pushing Hemeon over in the process. The usually mild-mannered Gilroy senior retaliated and pushed Guio back. Guio was called out and Hemeon was ejected from the game. All of a sudden, Wheeler found himself having to make even more infield adjustments.

O’Connell, who had Sobrato’s only hit in the first five innings, kept the Bulldogs hopes for a win alive by dropping a single into left and driving home Nelson from third to make it 2-1. But Anderson got Bryan Yates to ground out to shortstop Michael Stevens to end the game.

“It was so uncharacteristic (of Hemeon). He said he just lost it for a second,” explained Wheeler, who said neither he nor Hemeon thought Guio’s push was done on purpose. “I went from total surprise to ‘Oh, no, We won’t have (Hemeon) for Friday.'”

Friday, the Mustangs travel to Hollister to take on the ‘Balers for the second time this season. In the previous meeting, Gilroy emerged with a 12-5 win. But the Mustangs will be without Hemeon, who will have to sit a game because of the ejection, and Tyler Osborne, who is recovering from injury.

After having to reschedule several games because of rain, the Mustangs are looking to get back into a rhythm.

“(The rainouts) have really slowed us down. After our game with Hollister, our composure went down,” Evanger said. “I hope on Friday we bring it to them.”

Gilroy scored its first run in the bottom of the fifth inning when Danny Contreras drove in Josh Sterling (double) with a sacrifice fly to left field to give Gilroy a 1-0 lead.

In the bottom of the sixth, Hernandez (single) moved to second thanks to a sac bunt from clean-up hitter and right fielder Kevin Grove. Hernandez moved to third when Sobrato catcher Ryan Melicker bobbled a Bulch offering to No. 5 hitter Evanger at the plate. The junior then singled to right field to bring Hernandez home for the clutch RBI.

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