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Bulldogs advance to tourney final

Alhambra catcher Josh Abraham dives for home plate after a wild pitch to make the tag at home plate in the Bulldogs’ 6-1 win over the El Cerrito Gauchos on Tuesday, April 5, 2016. (MARK FIERNER / Martinez Tribune)
Alhambra catcher Josh Abraham dives for home plate after a wild pitch to make the tag at home plate in the Bulldogs’ 6-1 win over the El Cerrito Gauchos on Tuesday, April 5, 2016. (MARK FIERNER / Martinez Tribune)

By GERARDO RECINOS
Martinez Tribune

If you’ve ever shown up to a game late, you know the frustration of hearing the star shortstop has gone 3-for-3 with two home runs and a double, all after a benches clearing brawl.

But if you show up to an Alhambra baseball game late, you might just be doing it the right way.

In their 6-1 win over El Cerrito in the semi-finals of the Bulldog Easter Tournament, the Alhambra lineup was held without a hit for 4 2/3 innings before waking up and slugging out five hits in just two innings.

What was even worse is that before the bats finally woke up, the Bulldogs were trailing the Gauchos from El Cerrito.

Sophomore right hander Cole Gifford was tagged with a run in the second inning after the Gauchos turned a hit batter into a run scored.

Senior Marco McMullen singled in sophomore Henry Degnan, who stole second to get himself into scoring position.

Minus that blip in the second inning, Gifford continued to show why he has earned the trust to start such a big game.

The sophomore was poised on the mound, and attacked the strike zone consistently. He threw 21 first-pitch strikes to the 25 hitters he faced, and struck out eight in his six innings of work.

Gifford also only allowed a single hit (the RBI single to McMullen) and only allowed five total base runners to reach via hit, walk, or hit by a pitch.

Still, going into the fifth inning, he was trailing.

Sophomore Brandon Muroka reached base on an error to lead off the fifth inning, but with two outs his chances of scoring looked dismal.

A big error by the El Cerrito shortstop let the Bulldogs off the hook, as his air-mailed throw allowed the runner to score.

With the game tied, it seemed as if a sigh of relief was collectively let out from the dugout, and the boys could finally get to work.

Any stragglers (c’mon who shows up to a game an hour and 20 minutes late?) caught all the action. Senior Josh Abraham got the first hit of the game for the Gauchos, but even then it came with some help from the Knowles Field lights, which appeared to have played a part in the El Cerrito center fielder allowing the ball to soar over hit head.

Two runs scored, and Abraham put himself right into scoring position. Next up at the plate Zach Elliott traded places with his fellow senior to drive in a run on the game’s second hit.

With a 4-1 lead, Gifford came out in his final inning of work and threw only 11 pitches to allow the Bulldog bats to get back to work.

Struggling junior Jordyn Eglite laid down a slump buster bunt single to get himself going in the right direction, and was moved over and a single from Muroka.

A walk by Trent Greene set up a bases loaded opportunity for Matt Beck, and the senior singled the fifth pitch he saw to drive in two insurance runs. That allowed the Bulldogs to relieve Gifford of his duties with a win certain at that point.

Spencer Schulhauser finished the final frame despite getting into a bit of trouble, he struck out two and set up a date between the Bulldogs and Pittsburg Pirates in the final of the tournament on Friday, ,April 8 at 7 p.m. at Knowles Field.

About Gerardo Recinos

Gerardo Recinos is a journalist currently living in Concord, Calif. He is a recent graduate of San Francisco State University, with a degree in Journalism (History minor). Gerardo covers sports throughout Martinez and Pleasant Hill. It's his lifelong mission to get people in the U.S. to stop calling football "soccer," and to call American football "handegg."

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