The Trojans hung on for dear life in the top of the seventh, as the Western Warriors put men on base, but came up short by 1 run to lose 3-2.
When a baseball team scores 3 runs on 3 hits, something is going their way and against Western on Tuesday it was mediocre defense by Western, which gave the Trojans the win. The Trojans improve to 3-0 and went into the game with Faith Lutheran undefeated. Faith was 3-0 too on Thursday, which was too late to report.
Trojans Coach Brian Hayes believes all the hard work on defense last year paid off this year.
“Both teams pitched really well and the difference was our defense and was the reason why we won. Their defense made a few errors and we didn’t. Our defense is helping us and our pitching is coming around. Our hitting has been spotty, either we hit the ball really well or there are games like today where we don’t,” Hayes said.
Western gave up 5 errors to the Trojans 1.
In addition to just 1 error, pitcher Chad Uyeno had a good game. It was good enough to be named player of the game. He pitched all seven innings and had 6 hits and 6 strikeouts and just two walks.
“The outing was all right. I was not trying to throw hard at all. I was just trying to throw strikes and let them hit. At the end, I faced the bottom of the lineup and I just figured they were not going to do much,” Uyeno said.
Uyeno also helped himself out by getting a clutch-hit to drive in the winning run with two outs in the 5th. He drove the ball to center for an RBI to score Josh Mortensen from third, who also got on by a single.
“It was a high-inside fastball. The pitcher was decent and probably one of the better pitchers of the league. I was just trying to play pepper and get it in play to score the run,” he said.
Hayes said the Trojans were spotty at best in the hitting department. They scored in the first, fourth and fifth innings. In two of the three scores, Josh Mortensen was able to get on base. Mortensen hit 2-3 and got on base 3-3 times. In the first and fifth innings, he stole his way to third where he was driven home.
Hayes said Mortensen has got on base all season.
“We usually do a good job of getting Mortensen home. It is one of the reasons we have AJ hitting in the number two spot. His batting average is not super high right now, but he does a great job of getting runners over. During one of his at bats, Yoshi stole second and third. AJ does a good job of getting the runner to third. We like our chances with one out with either Chad or Dylan coming through with a hit. That is kind of our philosophy in the middle of the order. When AJ gets his batting average up, which will happen eventually, then we will start taking off,” Hayes said.
Against Faith on Thursday Hayes knows his team has to be at their best in the pitching department and hitting. Faith has a 1.30 ERA with their pitchers and a team batting average of .404.
“We faced a fairly decent pitcher today, the kid threw well. We didn’t have very many quality at bats. We had about 10 strikeouts with 21 at bats. We will have to improve on this if we are to be competitive with Faith. Our kids want to be state champions and we will see where we stand on Thursday,” Hayes said.