By Lynn Guerin
Danny Meraz Drives in 4 Runs & Cole Guerin Wins his Fifth Game of the Season
Longtime fans of high school baseball would mostly agree that there are no two games ever like. Tuesday’s game between the Rancho Christian Eagles and the Escondido Charter White Tigers is not likely to be duplicated any time soon. On a very windy day when the ball was blowing and flying all over the field, it seemed that both teams were having difficulty catching and throwing the ball with any predictability or consistency.
Rancho Christian starting pitcher Junior Cole Guerin who has shown good command and control of his pitches over a three-year career could not find the plate at all in the first inning. He gave up 3 runs in the top of the first, without giving up a hit , combining walks with a couple of hit batters ,a wild pitch and an infield error.
The Eagles batters brought their hitting shoes, coming back with a run in the bottom of the first. Taylor Tosches doubled and scored on a single by Danny Meraz. Ty Miranda singled and Eli Goodwin was hit by the pitch loading the bases. Escondido got out of the inning when Tosches was tagged out trying to score on a passed ball.
Rancho Christian changed the complexion of the game in the bottom of the second when they scored six runs on four hits taking a 7-3 lead. Guerin reached on a fielders choice following a Meraz single. Denton Barker laid down a perfect bunt single and Jo Jo Saatzer walked to load the bases. Gaukler walked forcing in Guerin with the first run of the inning. Tosches singled scoring Barker, tying the score at 3-3.
Then Danny Meraz cleared the bases with a long double in the gap in left center scoring 3 runners. Rancho now held a 6-3 lead. Ty Miranda hit a hard grounder to first, bringing Danny Meraz home increasing The Eagles lead to 7-3.
Escondido scored a single run in the third, again without the benefit of a hit, and trailed 7-4. Both teams were scoreless in the fourth. Guerin pitched, and battled through the fourth inning and left with the 7-4 lead with out giving up a hit.
Goodwin came on to pitch in the fifth and held The White Tigers scoreless in the fifth. Rancho Christian added 2 runs in the bottom of the fifth on a Meraz double, a dropped third strike with Guerin at bat. The Escondido catcher threw the ball into right field scoring Meraz and enabling Guerin to sprint to third. Guerin scored the ninth and final run on a squeeze bunt by Barker.
Rancho now had what seemed like a comfortable 9-4 lead. Not so fast. In the top of the sixth Goodwin had some control issues of his own. Escondido took advantage of a hit, 2 errors, 2 walk, a hit batter, a wild pitch and 2 passed balls to score 4 times. Rancho Christian’s comfortable 5 run lead had shrunk to one.
The score now stood Eagles 9-White Tigers 8.
The Eagles went 1-2-3 in the bottom of the sixth. Escondido heightened the tension when the lead off batter lined a single up the middle. The next hitter sacrificed the runner to second. One out. Goodwin struck out the next hitter, but during the at bat, the runner took third on a passed ball.
Now there were two outs with a runner on third. After a called strike, and a ball, Goodwin broke a curve in the dirt passed catcher Ty Miranda. The runner broke for home. Miranda hustled to retrieve the errant pitch, and tossed the ball to Goodwin who applied the tag. Runner was out. Rancho escapes with a one-of a kind 9-8 win.
With the win, Rancho Christian evened its record again. Now standing at 6 wins and 6 losses with one tie. Guerin picked up his 5th win against 3 losses. Goodwin earned his 3rd save.
On the horizon are the Eagles 3 most important league games with the league title and a trip to the CIF Playoffs on the line. Rancho Christian next faces Temecula Prep with a home and home series on April 10th and 12th.