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Strong finish helps Southwest Funding avoid first loss, 10-7

Down 5-0 before it ever sent a batter to the plate, Southwest Funding (SF) was in for an uphill climb Wednesday against Price Distributing (PD) in junior baseball league play.
SF (4-0-1) responded well, however, with a four-run first inning and later rolled up six runs in the third inning to rally past PD (1-5) for a 10-7 victory. SF coach Roger Gentry knew why his team played better down the stretch.
“We woke up and started playing ball after the first inning when we made way too many errors,” he said.
“I thought we took advantage of our opportunities late in the game and didn’t give [PD] anything free after the first inning. We ran the bases well tonight and that helped us get the win.”
“We had a really tough loss to open the season, but we have improved since then,” said PD coach Scott Shaw.
“Still, we haven’t turned the corner yet to put everything together.”
PD did connect on seven of the game’s nine hits and committed fewer errors than SF (3-4). SF made up the difference in the walk department, issuing just one to PD while benefiting from 13 free passes offensively.
Matt McGuire led the SF offense with a two-RBI single, while Jalen Johnson added an RBI single. Lin Gentry and Junior Esquivel chipped in with RBIs of their own. Johnson (4 IP, 4 ER, 7 H, 1 W, 3 SO) went the distance on the hill and was the best pitcher in the contest.
Lane Liska paced the PD offense with a pair of RBI singles. Tyler Gilmore smacked a two-RBI double, while Jordan Oates and Kyle Buckley each produced RBI singles.
Chad Stockton and Jose Carvajal tallied hits with a double and a single respectively. Joseph Shaw, who produced an RBI at the plate, (2 IP, 0 ER, 0 H, 7 W, HBP, 5 SO) got the start on the mound while Oates (1 IP, 4 ER, 2 H, 5 W, 1 SO) came on in relief.
Outs were few and far between in the first inning, as PD benefited from a trio of early SF errors. Liska connected on an RBI single to left for a 1-0 advantage and Shaw soon followed with an RBI grounder as he reached base on one of the errors.
Gilmore stepped up after an Oates RBI single with his two-RBI double to deep right field – the game’s best hit – for the 5-0 lead.
With no outs to that point, SF found its bearings quickly as shortstop Nick Cromwell fielded a groundout while Johnson snared a grounder and notched his first strikeout.
“Jordan is a good hitter who helped us get off to a great start,” Shaw said.
“Tyler has definitely improved as a player over the last couple of years and I’m glad he’s with us.”
“We did pretty well with the gloves tonight, but for some reason we didn’t throw the ball well,” Gentry said of his team’s mistakes in the field.
SF struck back with four runs in its first without a hit.
The first two runs came on a throwing error, while a bases-loaded walk drawn by Jake McGuire and a passed ball paved the way for the other pair of runs.
SF looked really sharp in sitting PD down in order during the second. After Johnson fielded a groundout and struck a batter out, Cromwell hauled in a lineout.
“Jalen was getting the call on pitches low and outside, which makes him tough to deal with,” Gentry said.
“He gained confidence in himself and his defense as we played better behind him. Jalen is a true athlete. You could put him anywhere on the field and get 110-percent effort because he doesn’t want to lose; that’s something you can’t coach.”
Shaw got himself into trouble with a trio of walks in the SF second, but escaped the base-loaded jam with his third strikeout of the inning to preserve the 5-4 lead for PD. Shaw reached base on SF’s final error to leadoff the PD third and the visitors took advantage of it. After a Carvajal fly single to left, Buckley made good on an infield RBI single for a 6-4 PD lead.
“Jose probably wishes he’d have hit it a little harder, but we’ll take that base hit,” Shaw said.
“Kyle just moved up to this level and he’s worked to adjust to the better pitching; I think he’s doing well.”
While Oates took over for Shaw on the hill in the SF third, the home team took advantage of walks and a couple of timely hits to seize control.
With two men on, Johnson put an RBI single in left field for his team’s first hit.
After a Gentry RBI grounder where he reached base on a fielding error, Matt McGuire stepped up with the bases loaded for a two-RBI single to center that scored the winning runs. SF wasn’t quite done, scoring on a passed ball and an Esquivel RBI groundout for the 10-6 advantage.
“That hit was big for Matt after he had a tough time last game and hopefully that’s a confidence builder for him,” Gentry said.
Time expired early in the PD fourth, meaning the visitors had to surge ahead to avoid the loss. With one out, a couple of PD batters stepped up as Stockton smacked a standup double to center and Liska followed with RBI single just like he’d begun the game.
SF was able to close out the contest, however, thanks to a fielded groundout by third baseman Scott Falkenbach and the efforts of catcher Esquivel, who chased down a passed ball and tagged a runner out at the plate on the game’s final play.
“Chad gave us an excellent hit at the end and a chance to rally back,” Shaw said.
“Lane is certainly a good player and he’ll nearly always put the ball in play. He’s a seasoned player as a young guy.
“We need to work on fielding the ball cleanly with good throws. That’s what can kill you out here.”
“Junior did a good job there to end the game for us,” Gentry said.
“We’ve got lots of room for improvement, like being more consistent on defense and attacking the ball.”

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Posted by on May 22 2008. Filed under News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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