Accomplishments: Fidel Ulloa and the Lodi High baseball team know that the Tri-City Athletic League is going to be tough again this season.
But the sophomore pitcher/infielder and the Flames feel that they are tougher and ready for the challenge. Ulloa and Lodi (6-2) won their challenges against Pitman in a non-league game at Zupo Field on March 22.
On the mound, he struck out four Pride batters, gave up four hits but threw a no-hitter through the first three innings of the game. That led to Lodi posting a 6-2 win over Pitman, out of Turlock.
“I was just looking to throw strikes,” Ulloa said. “Let my defense do the work. There’s great chemistry between us.”
For the season, Ulloa, one of seven pitchers on the Flames’ roster, is 1-0 with an earned run average of 2.27. He’s struck out nine batters and has three saves.
Lodi coach Hobie Schultz on Ulloa has seven pitchers who have thrown this season, and 10 listed on the team roster.
“We have a lot more pitchers,” Ulloa said. “We have a complete defense; infield and outfield.”
Within 24 hours before he takes to the mound, Ulloa has a ritual he likes to perform.
“A day before, I like going out on a run just to get the blood moving,” Ulloa said.
Ulloa spent a lot of time preparing for his second season on the varsity level for the Flames. Last fall and summer, he played on a travel baseball team to improve his pitching, fielding and hitting skills.
“With my travel ball team, we played a lot of 18U teams,” Ulloa said. “We started seeing better velocity, higher competitive (teams).”
As a freshman last spring, Ulloa appeared only one time on the mound for the Flames. He batted .206 for Lodi, which took second place in the TCAL and earned a ninth consecutive Sac-Joaquin Section playoff berths.
On Monday, Lodi opens TCAL action at Lincoln in their best-of-three series. The Flames will host the Trojans at Zupo Field next Wednesday. In upcoming weeks, Lodi will be playing St. Mary’s and West, with the Vista del Lago Easter Tournament April 15-17 in between the TCAL games.
“I’m looking forward to those games,” Ulloa said. “We’ve played some pretty good teams.
Ulloa’s love for baseball started when he was 9 years old. That’s when he watched his father, Fidel Sr., play adult baseball.
“I’ve grown up watching my dad play baseball,” said the younger Fidel Ulloa of his father, who played adult Sunday league baseball games.
Contact Mike Bush at email@example.com. Follow on Twitter: @MBushLodiSports.