For the first time in five non-league games this season, the Tokay High baseball team jumped out to an early lead over an opponent.
But the Tigers’ momentum didn’t last long.
Entertaining Chavez at Zupo Field on Wednesday, the Tigers used three hits to build an early 3-0 lead. But Chavez came on strong in the end, which led to a 10-4 win over Tokay (0-5), which played its first home game of the season.
Cade Campbell (2-for-3, run scored) led off the bottom of the first inning for Tokay with a walk, and rounded the bases to third on Ryan Lew’s single to right-center field. After a fly out, the Tigers picked up their second hit of the inning when starting pitcher Jacob Varney singled up the middle to drive in Campbell, as Tokay led 1-0.
Tokay’s final hit of the inning came off the bat of Kolton Fernandez, who also singled up the middle that drove in Lew and Varney. Those runs game the Tigers a 3-0 lead.
“That’s the first time we’ve come out and got some runs and had a lead,” said Tokay coach Pat Macfarlane. “We’ve been playing from behind all year.”
But the Tigers could only muster one more run in the game, which came in the bottom of the third after Chavez tied the game at 3-3. Fernandez walked, moved to second base on a passed ball and scored when Ryker Henne doubled to center field for a 4-3 lead.
Chavez (3-2), which plays against Liberty Ranch in a non-league game at Galt Community Park on Friday, used three hits in the frame — they finished with eight in the game — as Jermaine Brown Jr., Elijah Galindo and Art Valenzuela each had a base hit. That led to the 3-3 tie.
“They’ve got some good hitters,” said Macfarlane of the Titans’ line-up. “We just can’t be giving them freebies.”
The Titans took the lead for good in the top of the fourth inning. Chavez scored six runs off four hits; the biggest hit was Jon Espiritu doubled to left field. Chavez also took advantage of two walks and two passed balls that helped in plating runs.
“We didn’t add on after that, and make some adjustments,” said Macfarlane, who used four pitchers in the game. “We just didn’t have good command on the mound tonight.”
Brown Jr. scored the Titans’ final run in the top of the sixth inning. He doubled to center field, advanced to third on an interference call and scored on a passed ball.
The Tigers’ offense had seven hits in the game. But only one time Tokay was able to advance a runner to second base after the first inning.
In the bottom of the fourth, Bryant Neuvert walked and moved to second base on Campbell’s single to left field with one out. But a fly ball and grounder ended the inning.
Lew also had two hits in the game for the Tigers in four at-plate appearances.
The Tigers have almost a half-dozen non-league games left to play — including some that are rescheduled that were initially postponed because of rain/field conditions the last two weeks — before starting Tri-City Athletic League action against defending TCAL champion Tracy on April 1.
“We’re working toward being ready for league,” Macfarlane said. “We’re playing tough teams between now and league.”
Tokay welcomes Clayton Valley Charter of Concord to Zupo Field on Friday.
Contact Mike Bush at email@example.com. Follow on Twitter: @MBushLodiSports.