The Eagles Starts League Play next Tuesday when they host Temecula Prep
By Lynn Guerin
Halfway through a season you begin to get a very good idea, what kind of character, team chemistry, skills and fight your ball club possesses. Two very good baseball teams demonstrated on Friday afternoon, they have all four of those qualities in good measure.
The Rancho Christian Eagles and The Linfield Christian Lions, two crosstown, intense rivals squared up in a playoff type atmosphere on Linfield’s home diamond. Rancho came away with a hard fought down to the wire 2-1 victory.
The story for Rancho was taking advantage of a timely miscue on an overthrow to second base by the Linfield catcher, sparkling defensive plays, and the power pitching of Rancho Christian ace, senior right hander Colton Bulger.
Linfield scored their lone run in the bottom of the first inning , when leadoff batter Tyler Baca reached on an error by shortstop Jo Jo Saatzer. Baca went to second on a passed ball and scored when Billy Strohm lined a single to left center. Linfield had a quick 1-0 lead.
Linfield threatened again in the third inning when Strohm walked, stole second, and with 2 outs attempted to score on a single by Cooper Whitworth. Rancho right fielder Danny Meraz, on the run, fielded the hard hit cleanly and came up throwing a perfect one-hop strike to catcher Carter Treadway who applied the tag for the third out.
Rancho Christian threatened in the top of the fourth , when Treadway led off the inning with a walk. With one out, Saatzer singled with Treadway moving to second. After a strikeout for the second out, Ty Miranda lined a sharp single to right. Treadway attempted to score from second but a great throw from Ryan Dipoma nailed Treadway at home for the third out. Linfield still led 1-0 midway through the fourth inning.
Colton Bulger getting stronger with each inning retired Linfield in the fourth with just a lone single, sandwiched between a strikeout ,a ground out and a nice running catch by Danny Meraz.
In the top of the fifth inning, Rancho broke through with two runs on 3 hits. Danny Meraz singled to lead off the inning and went to second on a passed ball. Joey Hauck singled, sending Meraz to third. Taylor Tosches chopped one in fair territory off the plate toward third. Catcher Austin Willis pounced on the ball and in an attempt to force Hauck at second, overthrew the base into centerfield. Meraz and Hauck both scored on the overthrow. Ranchos now lead 2-1.
From the bottom of the fifth on Bulger was unhittable. In the fifth, he walked the first batter, and struck out the next. A great play from sophomore first baseman , Elijah Goodwin who backhanded a very hard one hopper provided the second out. Bulger struck out Strohm for the third out.
In the seventh Bulger finished very strong getting Linfield 1-2-3. He fanned Marshall Weise for the first out. Trevor Jones made a fine play on a tough chance at third for the second out. Bulger fanned Mich Simon for the complete game victory.
Bulger picked up his fifth win of the season and Rancho Improved its record to 9 wins and 3 defeats. Linfield now stands at 10 wins and 5 losses.
Rancho opens league play next Tuesday when they host Temecula Prep.
Rancho Christian 0 0 0 0 2 0 0 2
Linfield Christian 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 1