Tiger baseball on a roll, survive Golden West comeback, then beat Dinuba for tourney title

By Ed Martin, Editor
Lemoore's Austin Murietta pitched four solid innings and belted a 2-run triple as the Tigers outlasted Golden West Friday 15-9.
Lemoore's Austin Murietta pitched four solid innings and belted a 2-run triple as the Tigers outlasted Golden West Friday 15-9.

Not a bad start for Lemoore’s varsity boys’ baseball team. On Saturday the Tigers completed a two-week tournament against Valley teams, playing six games and beating Dinuba 2-1 in the finale for the Central Valley Diamond Classic championship.

On Friday the Tigers nearly let the tourney title slip away from them as they watched visiting Golden West roar back from a 9-0 deficit to tie the game in the fifth inning. Lemoore held on with six more runs for a 15-9 victory to clinch a spot in Saturday’s final against Dinuba.

“Our team battled hard in this tournament,” said Tiger Coach Frank Ramos. “They really learned how to rely on each other and not only on themselves. I feel like this team isn’t 18 young men on a team, it’s more like a team with 18 contributors.”

Indeed it took a team effort to get past Dinuba on Saturday. Lemoore had only three hits, but they got them when it counted the most, scoring twice in the sixth inning and then hanging on to beat the Emperors 2-1.

Russ Tuman, Austin Murrieta and A.J. Bow each collected a hit.

Dinuba’s Hunter Garrison and Israel Garcia each had two hits for Dinuba, but the Emperors had trouble getting runs across the plate.

Jack Foote went six innings for Lemoore, giving up just two walks and striking out eight batters.

The Tigers next action comes Thursday when they travel south for a date with Bakersfield Christian.  Game time is 4 p.m. Lemoore improved 7-1 with the tournament win over Dinuba.

On Friday the Tigers appeared headed for a easy win over the visiting Trailblazers. But the strong start, a quick 9-0 lead, evaporated as the Tigers watched their lead slip away in the fifth inning. Lemoore watched almost helplessly as visiting Golden West scored nine times over the next two innings to tie the game and threaten to spoil what had been a superb offensive showing for the Tigers.

Fortunately for Lemoore, the Tigers’ bats, which erupted for 19 hits, weren’t about to be silenced as the Tigers stopped the Blazer momentum in the Tigers’ half of the sixth and scored six times to finally dismiss the Trailblazers 15-9.

Lemoore Baseball Schedule

As it is, Lemoore keeps rolling in the Valley-wide Central Valley Diamond Classic as it prepares for a Saturday visit to Fowler for yet another matchup in the tournament.

Lemoore improved to 6-1 in the pre-season including a Tuesday, March 3 pasting of Selma in which the Tigers broke a 3-3 tie in the seventh with four runs to win 7-3. Isaiah Rodriguez was the player of the game, going 3 for 3 at the plate with two RBI.

Lemoore's Matt Cole keeps a Golden West base runner close to the bag.
Lemoore's Matt Cole keeps a Golden West base runner close to the bag.

On Friday the Tigers appeared to be coasting. With their bats sounding off early they took a commanding 6-0 lead after two innings and added three more in the fourth as they appeared headed for yet another win in the Central Valley Diamond Classic.

Tiger pitcher Austin Murietta appeared to be coasting. Through four innings, Murietta allowed just one hit, but was pulled by Tiger Coach Frank Ramos in the fifth. The talented pitcher aided his own cause with a two-run triple in the fourth as Lemoore took a 9-0 lead in the fourth inning.

Enter Chandler Gryzbicki who immediately got into trouble with Blazer batters. Golden West managed to load the bases with no outs and slowly began chipping away at the once huge Tiger lead. Gryzbicki had control problems and walked Blazers’ Wyatt Tilley with the first Golden West run. Still with no outs, the Tigers walked in a second run when Ramos put in reliever Tyler Jenner.

Another walk and a blooper single off the bat of Golden West’s Troy Stainbrook led to two more runs and a 9-4 Tiger advantage. A sacrifice infield hit brought home another run and when the inning finally ended on a ground out, the Blazers had cut the gap to 9-7 on just one hit.

The Blazers tied the game in the sixth with two more runs before Lemoore’s bats exploded in the half of the sixth with six runs as the Tigers held on for the win.

Jayden Hunt earned the victory for the Tigers. Russ Tuman led the Tigers with three hits and two RBI while A.J. Bow went 2 for 4 with a double and a pair of RBI.


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