By Charlize Althea Garcia, April 11, 2023
The Broncos won three out of four games in a packed baseball weekend series against CSU San Bernardino March 25 to 27. Following a topsy-turvy weekend series last week, Broncos made up the losses with a series victory.
Three games had the team in a narrow escape of losing, only winning with one-run leads. The first game set a promising tone for the rest of the series.
Head coach Randy Betten spoke on the team’s substandard progress up to that point in the season and stressed the need for improvement.
“I thought tonight we played well for about eight innings,” said Betten. “We made some mistakes that we have to correct. Little things. It’s not big things. It’s not pitching. It’s not hitting. It’s little things when it comes to detail parts of the game we need to get better.”
Game one had the crowd at ease as Broncos took the lead. Pitching carried the game with Rhys Stevens pitching for seven innings.
Stevens spoke on the win against the Broncos’ competition.
“They’re number six ranked team in California, and they’re a D2 college baseball,” said Stevens. “The fact that we were able to come away with the first game win is huge, and it’s a big momentum shift for us.”
It was a quiet start for both teams in the first inning with only one hit from the Broncos. The second inning provided early offence as center fielder Nin Burns II singled to second base and stole second. Catcher Johnny Pappas went up to bat and drove in Burns II to take the early lead.
Following the adrenaline from the last inning, Tent MacKinney scored another run in the third.
MacKinney singled out to center field, allowing Luke Watson to score.
The score was 2-0 until the top of the eighth inning. Stevens preserved the lead, preventing the Yotes from getting more than one hit in the course of seven innings.
In the seventh, the Yotes loaded the bases and pitcher Matt Orozco replaced Stevens.
After two more scoreless innings, the home team looked to walk things off. Shortstop Cedrick Perez was first to bat and singled to left field. With the fate of a win hanging over him, Pappas pulled off a sacrifice bunt that moved Perez to second base.
Third baseman Tyler Chaffee, adding onto the fire, doubled up the middle, making way for Perez to score a first-game victory.
Day two was packed with two games with less than an hour of a break in between. Hoping that a win added to their assurance, the weary Broncos lost to the Yotes in the second game 2-0. With no runs and only three hits from the Broncos, it was clear that they had lost their fuel.
The pitchers’ game alternatively compensated for the absence of batting. In under ten minutes, the top half of the fourth inning came to a premature halt as Broncos took the Yotes out. In the fifth, three batters equaled two flyouts and a strikeout.
The seventh inning proved a worrisome game plan from the opposing team as they grabbed a lead.
Although, the infield performance by the Broncos was a sight to see. The Broncos were racing to catch the Yotes as they were sprinting from base to base, and one by one they were taken out.
Game three carried out the same alarm but different outcome. CPP got off to an early start, scoring in the first inning. MacKinney set the tone as he walked to first base and advanced to second while his teammate grounded out to the pitcher. Burns went up to bat and singled to the left field and secured the lead for the Broncos.
The game continued on with a one run tie, leaving the crowd overwrought with anticipation. The Yotes’ hits were scarce for the rest of the game as pitchers AJ Moreno and Scott Armstrong barred any chance for Yotes to touch base.
Tensions were high as the last inning began with a tie. Left fielder Brent Cota ultimately changed that, starting the inning with a single and finally a run to home.
The close game ended with a Bronco win 2-1. Starting off the final game with a slow first inning, both teams without runs or hits swiftly moved to the second inning. Broncos quickly interrupted the silence with a two-run inning in the bottom half.
Burns II was up first to bat, smashing the ball into right field and making it all the way to third base. First base Marco Malerba added on with a hit down the middle, giving way for Burns II to score.
Without delay, infielder/pitcher Cedrick Perez scored another run that added on to the early lead.
The fourth inning did not bode well for the Broncos as Yotes scored twice, evening the score 2-2.
The tie lasted until the seventh inning. The Broncos successfully obstructed any kind of lead from the Yotes, scoring a run under two outs.
Infielder Darius Price singled out to center field followed by outfielder Cota who hit a double and fell right behind Price at third base as they bolted to home. Price scored the final run and added another victory to the series.
Price spoke about scoring the winning run of the final game.
“It felt great,” said Price. “I stayed patient. I got my opportunity, and I ran with it. It felt good to contribute to the team.”
The Broncos closed out the Yotes and ended the game on top by a final score of 3-2.
Betten spoke on the overview of the weekend series and the final game.
“It was a great weekend,” said Betten. “It was four competitive games. We made some adjustments today. We actually did better today. I was happy to see that. After a struggle yesterday, offensively we did some things better, but our pitching and defense over the weekend was spectacular.”
The weekend series ended with a victory. With the weekend series win, the Broncos hope to repeat the success with Stanislaus State on April 14.
Feature image by Darren Loo
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