One more win in the Central California Cal Ripken State Tournament and the Lodi 11U All-Star baseball team would’ve had the Fourth of July off.
But Kingsburg smacked down those plans.
A close game gave way to plenty of offense by Kingsburg, which posted a 9-2 win over Lodi in the double-elimination portion of the tournament at Salas Park on Wednesday. This was the first time in the tournament that Lodi (2-1) trailed in a game.
“The boys came out flat today,” said Lodi manager Juan Trillas. “We didn’t have the high energy. We threw the ball well.”
Today at 11 a.m. at the same park, Lodi will play the winner of the Hanford-Cary game, which was played Wednesday night, in the elimination game. The winner of today’s game will play Kingsburg (3-0) for the state title on Friday, also at Salas Park, at 5:30 p.m. A second game would be played 30 minutes after Friday’s first game if needed.
Kingsburg held a 3-0 lead entering the bottom of the third inning of Wednesday’s contest. Then Lodi, which had seven hits in the game, managed two of them to make the score 3-1.
Noah Hufford singled and moved to second base on a grounder for Kingsburg’s first out. After a strike out for two outs, Lodi’s Haiden Edwards singled to right field to move Hufford to third. Diego Panteja walked to load the bases. That’s when Johanathan Trillas walked that forced in Hufford.
“When it was 3-1, we had the opportunity to (move) men, with only one out, and we didn’t get anyone else across,” said Juan Trillas.
But Kingsburg, which had a combined five hits in the first two innings, banged out five hits in the top of the fourth inning for an 8-1 advantage. Gavin Ekizian doubled to the left field fence and four singled paved the way toward Kingsburg’s runs.
Although Juan Trillas was happy with the way his team fielded and threw the baseball from the outfield and infield, limited communication led to a lot of dropped balls. That gave Kingsburg extra chances to move around the bases.
“Errors cost us,” Trillas said. “All in all, the boys should’ve done a better job, a little better effort.
After its bats went hitless in the bottom of the fourth, Lodi scratched out its final run in the bottom of the fifth with one out. Juan Ulloa reached first base on a fielder’s choice, then moved around the base paths to third on Edwards’ single down the third base line. Pantoja grounded out for the second out, but that pushed Ulloa to home plate.
A single in the top of the sixth led to Kingsburg’s final run. Kingsburg finished with 11 hits.
Kingsburg scored its first run in the top of the first inning. In the top of the second, Blake Parrares tripled to left field for one of Kingsburg’s four hits and a 3-0 lead.
Entering today’s elimination game, Juan Trillas feels confident that Wednesday’s loss should be motivation for his young players.
“I think the way to go (today) is win three games; if we win that, a couple of more games and we’re state champions,” Trillas said.
Contact Mike Bush at email@example.com. Follow on Twitter: @MBushLodiSports.