By GERARDO RECINOS
After a pair of consecutive losses, the Bulldogs turned to their most consistent performer of the season to get them out of the hole.
The Alhambra boys baseball team’s 2-0 win over St. Mary’s-Albany came behind yet another six shutout innings. In 28 2/3 innings of work, Gifford has only allowed four earned runs all season.
During that workload, the Bulldogs have only managed to get the junior two wins, but in their March 23 win, they only needed two. Alhambra only scored six runs in three consecutive home games that they played in.
After a pair of losses, coach Ray Stokes was looking to get a win in any way possible. Considering his team left seven on base, the Bulldogs were going to need to manufacture their runs.
Most agonizingly was their first inning gaffe. With one out and the bases loaded, the Bulldogs’ Brandon Muraoka struck out, and then Spencer Schulhauser flied out to center field.
In the next two innings the Bulldogs went down with little fight. But they managed to scratch across a run in an unusual way.
Junior Trent Greene singled to lead off the inning, and it seemed for a second like he was going to stay standing at first. But with two outs, Tom Peon del Valle drew a walk.
Because there were two outs, when Jake Tyler hit a fly ball to left-center field, Greene was able to take off running off the crack of the bat. Because of that, Greene scored easily on the error from St. Mary’s Spencer Helvig. Unfortunately the Bulldogs couldn’t squeeze across another run in the inning, but Gifford didn’t need it.
The junior wasn’t as efficient as he usually is with his pitches. A nine-pitch at bat to start the game forced Gifford to work from top of the order down. In the first three innings he threw 60 pitches. But through that he battled. After his team got him a run, he settled in and attacked.
Even without the lead, Gifford recorded the first out of the inning on the first hitter in all six innings of work on Thursday. After getting the lead, he got the first two outs of the inning in all three innings after the Bulldogs scored.
As has become Coach Stokes’ style, the Bulldogs clawed across another run with some more small ball.
Senior Jordyn Eglite hit a booming triple that would’ve been a home run in most parks, but was nearly stranded at third.
Zach Schuler reached on an error with one out, and gave the Bulldogs just enough life. That allowed Greene to drive in Eglite on a well-executed safety squeeze.
With the run, the Bulldogs were in place with their pitching to get the win. Gifford shut down the Panthers by erasing a one-out single with a made to order double play.
Gifford handed the ball straight to , who struck out two in a dominating seventh inning to close out the Panthers, and the losing streak.