Strawberry Crest 5, East Bay 2
Plant 10, Lennard 0 (5)
Pitchers of the day
Plant starter Gabe Ricker was perfect through four innings and allowed only a seeing-eye single back through the box by Ed Tarrant and a walk en route to the five-inning victory against Lennard (3-5) in Pool 5 play of the annual Saladino Tournament in Ruskin. Ricker required 52 pitches. Through two tournament games, Plant starters have allowed 0 runs in 12.2 innings. … Three Strawberry Crest relievers — Cole Revoy, Jacob Heath and Tanner Kelly — worked three perfect innings with four strikeouts.
Hitters of the day
Plant's Conner Scott doubled and tripled in three at-bats. He scored twice and drove in one. Mike Haydak had two hits and two RBIs. Carson Richards contributed a two-run single in the four-run third. Plant (8-1) benefitted from four Lennard errors and eight walks — the last coming with the bases loaded in the bottom of the fifth to score the game-ending 10th run. …. In the first game, Ben Pues dropped a shallow fly just beyond the infield cutout with the bases loaded and the infield playing in for a two-run single that gave Strawberry Crest (5-3) some breathing room in the sixth with the Chargers' final two runs. Damien Torres went 2-for-3. In addition to their seven hits, the Chargers drew three walks and three hit-by-pitches. … John Patterson had one of East Bay's four hits and reached base twice.
"(Gage) is a strike thrower," Plant coach Dennis Braun said of his starting pitcher. "We play pretty good defense, so he is able to go out there and get some quick outs, keep his pitch count down. That is exactly what we needed today; this basically wins the pool for us. So now we can get some guys some rest tomorrow and come back out in the quarterfinals ready to go."
"(Their starter) kept us off-balance," Lennard coach Kennedy Duran said. "Hats off to him for throwing all those different pitches; he got us off our approach. And when you get off your approach and start swinging at the pitcher's pitch instead of yours. …"
"We still have some arms left for the tournament, so the key is going to come down to those arms throwing strikes and playing defense," said Strawberry Crest coach Eric Beattie, whose team can still earn the one wild-card berth in the quarterfinals. The Chargers and Longhorns meet in Wednesday's pool-play finale.
"If we can play like we did the first five (innings), we will be alright," East Bay (1-7) coach Mike Gula said. "We just need to finish. We need to figure out who wants it more than the other team."