Five base hits in one inning can produce a victory.
The Lodi High baseball team did exactly that in a non-league home game against East Union on Tuesday. That led Lodi to a 7-5 win at Zupo Field as the teams traded leads three times.
In the bottom of the sixth inning, Lodi (3-1), which had just watched East Union (4-2) retake a 5-4 lead, got its bats going with one out. Lodi shortstop Fidel Ulloa, a sophomore who started the game on the mound, beat out an infield single; the ball was hit to East Union shortstop Jaydin Alvarez on what appeared to be a routine grounder. Alvarez quickly threw the baseball to first base, but Ulloa beat out the throw by a half-step.
Then Lodi’s Niko Cabrera (2-for-3 with three runs) singled down the first base line to advance Ulloa to second base. Now with runners at second and first, Flames first baseman Jeffery Werder smacked the third consecutive single; this one between shortstop and the left side of second base as the baseball rolled into left-center field. That hit drove Ulloa home for a 5-5 tie.
Lodi leadoff hitter Logan Morita, who was 0-2 plus a walk in his previous trips to the plate, singled to left field to drive home Cabrera, who occupied third base thanks to Werder’s hit. That gave Lodi a 6-5 advantage. After a fly ball to center field gave the Lancers two outs, Lodi picked up its fifth hit of the frame when Angelo Zazzarino singled up the middle to plate pinch-runner Mason Osborn, who was in for Werder, to make it 7-5.
“That’s what you need to do to get some energy,” said Lodi coach Hobie Schultz. “Those guys did it.”
East Union had no answer to the Flames’ hitting outburst in the top of the seventh. Two ground outs and a strike out swinging led to Lodi picking up the win.
The Lancers scored three times in the top of the sixth to take the 5-4 lead. But East Union only had one hit — Cameron Ceja’s single to left field. The Lancers took advantage of four walks; Lodi had eight in the game.
“We’ve got to get better on the mound,” said Schultz, who went through four pitchers in Tuesday’s game. “We walked eight guys; that’s unacceptable. I think it will come around; it’s only game four.”
Entering the top of the sixth, Lodi held a 4-2 lead. Three of those runs came in the bottom of the fourth inning with no outs, as East Union led 2-1.
Ian Watanabe led off the fourth inning for Lodi when he was hit by a pitch. But Watanabe was thrown out at second base when Jonathan Charboneau reached first base on a fielder’s choice.
Charboneau rounded to third base, thanks to Logan Stout’s double, a line-drive shot, to left field. While Ulloa at the plate, Charboneau cut the Lancers’ lead to 4-2 when he scored on a passed ball.
Stout moved to third on that pass ball. Then Lodi had runners at the corners when Cabrera was walked; East Union surrendered only three in the game. Then Werder doubled off the left field wall that sent Stout and Cabrera across home plate for the 4-2 score.
Lodi’s first run of the game came in the bottom of the third inning. Cabrera singled to center field, moved to second base on a balk, went to third on Werder’s sacrifice bunt and scored Colton Smithhardt’s sacrifice fly to right field.
“We were kind of struggling at the beginning,” Schultz said. “We just got to get better.”
East Union led 1-0 after the top of the first inning. White singled to left field, moved to second on a passed ball and stole third base. He scored on another Flame passed ball.
The Flames finished with eight hits in the game. But they stranded six runners that included five in scoring positions.
Morita, along with Zazzarino, Stout, Ulloa and Werder, had a hit each.
Lodi continues its pre-season schedule today, playing at Franklin of Elk Grove.
Contact Mike Bush at email@example.com. Follow on Twitter: @MBushLodiSports.