It seemed almost surreal in the seventh inning of the home varsity baseball game against the Sierra Timberwolves on April 15 as the Mustangs nearly blew a large portion of a seven-run lead due to a series of walks and a base hit. Fortunately, the Mustangs were able to get out of a pickle and pulled off an 8-5 victory.
After losing a sloppily played game to Sierra in Manteca on April 13, the Mustangs came out swinging in the first inning with the first six players reaching base. After starting pitcher Nate Criswell had shut down Sierra quietly in the first, left fielder Johnny Wylie led off the Mustangs half of the inning with a single followed by another single by shortstop Landon Nunes, sending Wylie to third. The Mustangs experienced a bit of a hiccup when Nunes stole second and Wylie broke for home. Sierra second baseman, Brendan Rapisura was able to throw home in time to get Wylie at the plate. Catcher Preston Vierra followed with a walk as did the clean-up batter, Criswell, loading the bases. Right fielder Noah Chelberg next sent a towering drive to deep centerfield, which glanced off the fielder’s glove for a one-base error scoring Nunes and Vierra and sending Criswell to second. Criswell was then picked off of second by pitcher Austin Frisk. Designated hitter Carson Cripe followed with a double, scoring Chelberg from first, netting the Mustangs their third run in the first stanza.
Criswell cruised through the next six and two-thirds innings, surrendering only one run on two hits. He struck out nine while walking four and hitting two batters.
Everything seemed to go the Mustangs’ way in the bottom of the sixth inning. After a lead off out, Cripe walked and pinch hitter Gannon Camp reached base on an error. After a pop up out, Tate Cassaretto singled knocking in Lex Bairos, running for Cripe. Johnny Wylie singled for his third hit of the day (3 for 4 with a run scored and an RBI), scoring Joey Janssen, who had been reinserted to run following Camp’s pinch hit. Nunes walked and then Vierra cleared the bases with a massive double to score Cassaretto, Wylie and Nunes, making the score 8-1 in favor of the Mustangs.
All the Mustangs needed was three outs to walk away with a big win over their big baseball rivals from Sierra. They got those outs but not before making Mustang fans squirm. Mustang pitchers surrendered six walks to the first seven batters in the top of the seventh. With one out, two runs across, and the sacks full, junior Johnny Wylie came to the mound from his normal position in left field and immediately struck out a Sierra batter for the second out in the inning. He surrendered a two out single, which scored the third and fourth runs of the inning, but then got the 10th batter to hit in the stanza to fly out to Chelberg in right to preserve the 8-5 Mustang win.