HANFORD — For the second time in three games, the Bullpups were stuck on zero as they recorded their final three outs.
Coming off an excellent 2-1 victory against Redwood on Wednesday, Hanford couldn’t rally this time around and were shut out 3-0 at home on Friday.
“Today, I think we the ball a little harder than they did they just didn’t find the holes,” Hanford coach Flo Perez said. “[Clay Gillum] lined out to right-center, [Juaron Watts-brown] lines out to left, they find a little blooper hit through the four-hole. Just balls not bouncing our way right now, but I think we’re right there.”
Hanford pitcher Ethan Guevara and catcher Tre Knight were the two bright spots for the Bullpups in the West Yosemite League contest. Guevara used 94 pitches to throw a complete game and allowed three runs (two earned) on five hits. He had three strikeouts, five walks and a balk.
“I felt like I could control my fastball a lot better today than I did my last start,” Guevara said. “I was kind of off with my off-speed, but once I started getting [it down] it was all working together.”
It was his first complete game of the season and first time pitching more than three innings in an appearance.
Knight reached base in three of his four at-bats with a single in the first inning and two walks. He was solid behind the plate and stopped several pitches from getting away.
“When I’m up to bat, I don’t really think,” Knight said. “I just think, ‘If I get a strike right here I’m going to bang it, I’m going to try to get the ball in the gap, I’m going to try to work the other way and [give] my team the best opportunity to score.’”
The two teams each had five hits, but Hanford (8-8, 2-4 WYL) couldn’t hit when they needed to. They were 0-for-4 with runners in scoring position and tried to put together two-out rallies in the second, third and fifth innings. They came up short every time.
Brandon Burgos and Beau Wilkinson hit back-to-back two-out singles in the second inning, but a pop up stranded both of them. In the third, Knight walked and Flavio Perez singled to left field. A strikeout ended that scoring opportunity. Gillum singled in the fifth and Knight drew his second walk in the fifth. A bouncing ball to the third baseman made for the easy force out.
“We just need to start hitting the ball in situations that we got runners on,” Knight said. “We got to work on trying to score them in, hit the ball, find gaps and just get the ball through the infield and score some runs.”
All four RISP came with two outs. The Bullpups were unable to get ahead in the count and were jittery at the plate.
“Just not executing early in counts,” Guevara said. “We just kept on seeing pitches in, couldn’t really pull the trigger and that’s what got us down in the two-our rallies.”
Defensively, they turned two 6-4-3 double plays in the sixth and seventh innings, but it was two errors in the fourth inning, which cost them.
With a runner on second, Redwood catcher Rico Aguirre hit an RBI single. After an out and single, first baseman Diego Alvarado hit into a 1-3 putout, but it was enough to score another run. Two errors on a ground ball then allowed the third run to come across.
The loss drops Hanford into fourth place in the WYL. In their four WYL losses, they’ve struggled at the plate with a .202 batting average and an average of 1.75 runs per game. In their two wins, they’re batting .283 with an average of four runs.
“We get behind in the count and put ourselves in the hole,” Flo Perez said. “If we come out ready to swing, jump on that first fastball then we’ll have more success at the plate with runners in scoring position for sure.”
Hanford will take part in the 50th annual 2019 Easter Baseball Classic starting on Monday. Their first scheduled game is against Foothill (9-7, 3-5 EL) at Buchanan Stadium at 1 p.m. The next WYL game is April 24 on the road against Golden West at 4:15 p.m.