BASEBALL: Mustangs lose 4-3 in extras to Palma

 

GILROY – An unearned run in the top of the eighth inning gave
Palma (5-1, 5-0 TCAL) a slim yet sufficient one-run lead, stifling
Gilroy High’s (4-1 TCAL) bats in the bottom half of the frame to
secure a 4-3 victory Friday.
GILROY – Three baseball teams – Gilroy, Palma and San Benito – entered Friday undefeated in the Tri-County Athletic League.

Two of them squared off in Gilroy and needed extra innings to decide the outcome.

An unearned run in the top of the eighth inning gave Palma (5-1, 5-0 TCAL) a slim yet sufficient one-run lead, stifling Gilroy High’s (4-1 TCAL) bats in the bottom half of the frame to secure a 4-3 victory Friday.

With the contest tied 3-3, the Chieftains had a runner on second with two outs when Garrett Schwartz hit a firm base hit through the right side of the infield. Right fielder Matt Elston had the right angle as he charged in but didn’t get his glove down far enough as the ball squirted between his legs allowing Jack Ross to come across for the eventual game winner.

“Our defense was sloppy from the start,” manager Johnny Ramirez said. “We weren’t loosey-goosey. We were kind of tight.”

In baseball, mistakes have a nasty way of coming back to bite a team, and for Gilroy, four errors translated into all four runs for the Chieftains.

“If we minimize the errors we are fine,” GHS manager Johnny Ramirez said. “They got us on our errors. Take those away and we win the game.”

Senior Taylor Chris pitched six strong innings, allowing a mere four hits while striking out four batters, but for the second game this season, he was credited with a no decision.

“They capitalized on our mistakes,” Chris said.

The Mustangs only mustered five hits in the game as Palma starting pitcher, Julian Larimer, kept their lineup off balance, mixing in a heavy dose of off-speed pitches.

“We were swinging at everything in the dirt,” Ramirez said. “We will learn from it. We have seen their best now.”

The Chieftains jumped out 1-0 in the top of the second inning as Brooks Leandro-Farr scored with two outs after an errant throw by third baseman Eric Vegas.

However, the junior, who has been a menace to opposing pitchers so far this season with 12 hits in five games, redeemed himself and gave the Mustangs the lead in the bottom of the third, drilling a line drive, two-RBI double to the right-center field fence, scoring Chris and Gabe Bonilla.

Bubu Garcia plated Brent Newton earlier in the inning with a RBI-ground out.

The Mustangs’ 3-1 advantage held until the fifth inning, when two more Chieftains found their way home via GHS fielding letdowns.

“We needed to get our heads into the game more on defense,” Garcia said.

Garcia, who spelled Chris in the seventh inning took the loss, pitching two innings in relief.

Neal Dinsmore, Jordan Dexter, Reed Kienle and Chris had the other hits for the Mustangs.

Fortunately for the Mustangs, they have only tonight to think about the loss as they will travel down to Salinas to face Palma on Saturday at 1 p.m.

“Things happen,” Ramirez said. “I’m not worried.”

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