The stage was set and television cameras out for the big first-second place baseball match up, and one team responded brilliantly to the lime light at Knowles Field.
It wasn’t Alhambra.
The Bulldogs were held to only two hits on the afternoon by Acalanes lefty Josh Candau. The junior starter mystified the Bulldogs in six innings of work on April 21, striking out six Bulldogs.
Candau only allowed one runner to reach scoring position, and it came in the bottom of the sixth inning of the 4-0 win for the Dons.
The loss was the third time the Bulldogs have been shutout this season, but what’s worse is that two of those shutouts have come off the back of good performances by the Alhambra staff.
Jordyn Eglite matched Candau through three innings where neither pitcher had given up a hit. Eglite’s control wasn’t pin point, he walked four, but his stuff looked good, and he struck out seven in five innings.
But once against he couldn’t get the run support from his teammates.
Daymon Blalock had the first hit of the game on a swinging bunt single in the bottom of the third, but Alhambra stranded him at first.
When junior Daniel Kim got the first hit of the ball game for Acalanes, it came after two walks issued by Eglite. The second to UC Berkeley-bound Tom Henderson was close, and the umpire heard plenty of chirping from the Alhambra dugout and home fans.
But Henderson was patient and the Dons were rewarded by Kim’s RBI single.
However, even in the toughest of circumstances, Eglite managed to work his way out of the jam by striking out Gavin Ship and Tyler Ewing to strand runners on second and third and limit the damage.
Candau continued to carve his way through the lineup, and eventually Eglite’s pitch count got to him, as coach Daryl King was forced to go to the bullpen after Utah Valley commit Jake Berry hit a towering double over the head of Blalock.
Brett Strerrer took over for Eglite, and was greeted by Henderson, who made the Bulldogs pay with his bat. The senior left-fielder laced a double down the left-field line to drive in Berry and put himself in scoring position.
Just like their recent loss to Campolindo, the Bulldogs could not get out of the inning with a man from the bullpen.
Sterrer allowed an opposite-field single to Shipp on a nice piece of hitting by the Acalanes sophomore to go the other way with an outside pitch.
Shipp drove in the run, and then was lifted for pinch runner Harley McKee.
McKee advanced to second on a throw that missed the cutoff man, and stole third before coming around to score on a groundout by Ewing. Another miscue hurt Alhambra.
Senior Tyler Peters singled in the bottom of the sixth inning, but he did it with two outs, so that even when Matt Beck reached after being plunked by Candau, the Bulldogs posed no serious threat.
Alhambra went down in order after a dominant inning by junior Kevin McConnell out of the bullpen, who got the save by striking out two and shutting down the Dogs.
After the game, the Bulldogs learned that Campolindo took over second place in the Diablo Foothill Athletic League after they beat Las Lomas 11-1.
Things are looking up for Alhambra, however. The Bulldogs take on the Knights on Tuesday, April 26, before a bye leads them into a two game road trip.
The Bulldogs are 6-4 at home, and 5-1 away from the friendly confines of Knowles Field this season.