For two innings, the El Dorado High baseball team seemed to have the edge over Vista del Lago in Wednesday’s Sierra Valley Conference game at Escobar Field.
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The Cougars had two of their nine hits within the first two innings, and held a 1-0 lead over the visiting Eagles. El Dorado pitcher Michael Green kept the Eagles’ bat silenced.
But Vista took command of the game in the top of the third inning that led to a 9-4 victory in the first of three conference meetings.
El Dorado (7-3, 10-3) plated its first run in the bottom of the second inning when Nick Bonniksen reached first base on a fielder’s choice. The junior moved to second on Adam Washabaugh’s single to left field. Then, two outs later, Green drove in Bonniksen on a fielder’s choice; Owen MacKendrick, who singled before Boniksen stepped up to the plate, was thrown out at second base.
“We hit the ball OK,” El Dorado head coach Rusty McDonald said.
But Vista (7-0, 11-2) scored five runs in the top of the third inning that included a three-run home run by Nick Schumacher. The Eagles had five hits in the frame, and finished with 11 in the game.
“They hit the ball hard with authority,” said McDonald of the Eagles’ bats.
El Dorado had runners in scoring position in the bottom of the third. Lead-off hitter Zach Culp (2-for-3, RBI) and Luis Merlo (2-for-3, RBI) clubbed back-to-back singles. Culp moved to third base and Merlo second on Matt Smith’s grounder. But a strikeout and another grounder ended the Cougars’ threat.
“I was hoping to get, at least, one, if not two runs to get us right back into the game, get some momentum going,” McDonald said. “That was the big turning point right there.”
The Eagles increased their lead to 8-1 in the top of the fourth frame, as they banged out three hits, plus took advantage of a passed ball and two Cougar errors. They added their last run the following inning.
El Dorado scored three runs in the bottom of the seventh inning off five hits. Ryan Rodriguez led off with a single. Then with one out, Culp, Merlo, Vince Ross and MacKendrick hit consecutive singles before the Eagles ended the frame and game with a sacrifice fly and Ross thrown out at third base.
Contact Mike Bush at 530-344-5079 or [email protected] Follow @MBushMtDemo on Twitter.