Two two-out walks came back to haunt Hollister High Wednesday in
its Tri-County Athletic League baseball showdown with Live Oak.
Two two-out walks came back to haunt Hollister High Wednesday in its Tri-County Athletic League baseball showdown with Live Oak as the opportunistic Acorns opened the door and walked in behind their stalwart hurler, Ryan Muller, to leave Hollister with a critical 5-1 victory.

The Acorns (15-8, 9-2) now have a one game lead over the Balers (17-6, 8-3) with four games to play and their done with head-to-head meetings.

“We’re not celebrating or parading around any banner,” said Acorns head coach Marc Cummins. “We have four tough games left. Anyone can beat us. Gilroy beat us last time.”

Baler coach Neal Andrade, whose club is 1-2 against his alma mater, said his boys had nothing to be ashamed of.

“That was a good high school baseball game out there,” said Andrade. “We got down and battled back. We didn’t play badly. We hit the ball well. Live Oak just made the plays.”

Down 1-0 in the bottom of the fourth on an unearned run, the Balers got even on a first-pitch, two-out homer by Eric Diaz Jr. as the ball carried over the high fence in left-center field. It was the second home run off Muller by Diaz this year and Diaz’s fourth round-tripper of the season. It also broke up 11 consecutive batters set down by Muller (9-1) to start the game.

“We thought we knew how to pitch Diaz,” said Cummins of the T-CAL’s best hitter. “I guess we’ll have to change that strategy.”

Nathan Rowe (7-3) followed up with a single through the box to bring up Anthony Synegal. Synegal, who lined out menacingly to left field in the second, skied one deep to right-center field. For a moment, it looked like it might get out to put the Balers up 3-1. However, Acorns right fielder Jared Kwock got back in time to make the catch at the fence, albeit somewhat precariously.

Rowe, who had helped himself defensively by picking off a runner of first in the third inning, tired just enough in the decisive sixth. Although he pocketed the first two outs easily, he walked Muller on four straight pitches. Sean Nourie then hit a sharp ground ball into the hole which Ramos made a diving stop on. Kyle Bennett, who was on base all three times up, scalded one through the box. The ball had actually caromed off Rowe at the pitcher’s mound, then skipped towards the second base bag. Diaz, who was playing second, dove to get a glove on the ball, stopping its progress. The ball skipped enough into center field to enable Muller to score what turned out to be the winning run.

Nourie scored the Acorns’ third run on a wild pitch.

Diaz took the mound in the seventh and also walked a runner with two out. The Acorns Dave Newton hit a prodigious bomb to left for two more insurance runs, which weren’t really needed as it turned out.

Muller, who gave up just three hits, struck out four and walked one. The lone walk was to Diaz in the sixth after Ramos had singled with two out. Muller got behind Rowe 2-0 before Rowe flied out to left field.

“My strikeouts were lower than normal,” said Muller, who had three scouts with radar guns checking him out. “I was just trying to hit my spots and get ahead, but Hollister swung the bat good today.”

“We had a good approach at the plate today,” said Diaz. “We hit the ball hard.”

Muller was bailed out by some smooth play at short from Newton. Rowe hit a slow chopper to Newtown in the second, which appeared it might be trouble. But Newton gave a clinic on attacking the ball instead of waiting for it and made the pick-up on the short-hop to throw out Rowe. In the third, Newton went into the hole to hose out Steve O’Connell. In the seventh, Newton took away a potential bloop hit by Ross in short center.

“My defense made the plays behind me,” said Muller. “We came to play today.”

Earlier, the Balers were saved by two double plays executed by their infield, showing they could flash some leather, too.

-With Bennett aboard first base with one out in the second, Gordon Ross fielded a ground ball at first from Chase Perez. Ross stepped on first, then wheeled and threw to shortstop Nick Ramos, who applied the tag on Bennett.

-With one out in the fourth, Rowe yielded a single to Muller. Rowe then induced Nourie to ground out into a 6-4-3 double play.

The Balers are at Gilroy at 12 p.m. this Saturday while the Acorns entertain North Salinas on Saturday.

Baler bits: Other remaining dates: Hollister – at North Salinas Monday, vs. Salinas May 8, at Palma May 13; Live Oak – at Salinas Monday, vs. Palma May 8, at Gilroy May 13. – Muller faced just four batters over the minimum.

JV score: Hollister 8, Live Oak 4. Breyon Canez was the winning pitcher with cousin Karson Klauer supplying much of the offense with a home run, double and single for three RBI’s. Anthony Vasquez hit a double in his only plate appearance.

The Balers are 16-4 overall.

“This is my best group personality-wise I’ve had,” said Baler head coach Chris Moore, in his seventh year. “They may be my best team, too. My teams get better every year.”

Frosh score: Hollister 12, Live Oak 9.

Live Oak0010022-590


Muller and Perez; Rowe, Diaz Jr. (7) and Synegal. WP – Muller (9-1). LP – Rowe (7-3). HR – Newton (LO); Diaz (H). 2 hits – Muller, Jones (LO). 2 RBI – Newton (LO).

Previous articleLeadership group aims to empower people
Next articleHail to the early days of radio
A staff member wrote, edited or posted this article, which may include information provided by one or more third parties.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here