The Gold Beach Panthers travelled to Crescent City on Thursday to play Del Norte Warriors, where they suffered a drasitc 15-1 defeat in five innings at Three Amigos Field in a game shortened by the 10-run rule.
“The pitching wasn’t quite what we were used to but the kids hung in there, swung the bat when they needed to, got some hits and put some runs on the board,” said Del Norte head coach Travis Johnson. “That was about it.”
Gold Beach, playing without several of its players and hoping to save its best pitchers for a tough stretch next week, elected to take a look at some little-used pitchers throughout the game.
“We continue to learn something about our pitching,” said Gold Beach head coach Mark Hollinger. “We are on spring break, so I am missing several kids. I’m at a spot right now were I start my league next week and we play five games in five days. With pitch counts, that is tough.
“I am really looking at what I am going to be able to do pitching-wise, and I started a couple kids that I wanted to find out about.”
The Del Norte offense was able to take advantage of the inexperienced Panther hurlers with a mix of patience when Gold Beach struggled with control, while also protecting the strike zone with some solid hitting.
The Panthers pitchers struggled to find the strike zone early in the game, as Del Norte was able to draw three walks, and was hit by two more pitches in the first inning to put the Warriors ahead 3-0 with two outs the bases loaded. Del Norte senior Sebastian Fabricius then busted the game wide open with a stand up three-RBI triple to push the Warriors in front 6-0.
Del Norte added another run before the end of the first inning, and continued to roll at the plate in the second inning. The Warriors drew another walk, and got a free base for another hit batter in the second inning while also taking advantage of a pair of Panther errors to push its lead to 12-0.
“Our defense was a little sloppy in that second inning, otherwise we would still be playing right now,” Hollinger said after the game. “We are still trying to work all of our kids (into games) with the weather we have had, and we have 27 kids out this year. So this was kind of our last chance to get the early stuff figured out, because our league starts next week.”
Hollinger thought his team did pretty well at the plate throughout the game, but Del Norte was able to keep Gold Beach from getting many runners on base.
The Warriors got a strong start from senior Sebastian Puente, who picked up the win after pitching four innings while striking out four Panther hitters and walking one. Puente also allowed one unearned run.
Fellow senior Jackson Reese came in to pitch the fifth inning and retired the side in order to wrap up the win.
“They only walked one guy today,” Johnson said. “So they were throwing strikes and the defense played good D behind them. That is the name of the game.”
Gold Beach fell to 1-3 overall this season with the loss in what will be the Panthers last game before kicking off Sunset League play next Tuesday.
Although Gold Beach struggled at times in Crescent City on Thursday, Holliger said he is confident that his team will be in the thick of the league race once it gets back to full strength next week.
“I think we will contend in our league,” he said. “I know we have a couple pitchers that throw quite well.”