The Barstow Community College baseball team hosted quite a contest in its second home game of the young season on Tuesday.
The match saw 17 runs, 23 hits, six pitchers, six hit batters and three errors by the time it was over. It was all tied up at 8-8 after nine innings, but the guest team was able to scratch out another run in the 10th, and took the 9-8 win.
"It was one of those days. It was crisp out there and the ball was flying," said Vikings head coach Mike Karpel. "It came down to basic execution, they did it and we didn't."
The loss was a painful one for the Vikings, who let an early lead slip away. Barstow starting pitcher Tyler Leslie cruised through his first three innings of work, facing only 10 batters and striking out four of them.
Meanwhile, the Vikings offense got to work. The first of those hit batters, Dominick Monteiro, reached with one out in the second, advanced on a ground out, and scored on Jayson Henderson's single to center. In the third, there were three more runs on a pair of shots up the middle, an RBI stroke by Heriberto Orozco, and a two-run shot by Andres Ortiz.
In the top of the fourth, however, the Lasers got to Leslie for three runs. The frame was opened by four consecutive hits, started by a double to right by Bryce Hara, and followed by RBI singles from Sean Guite and Sam Kim. Kim moved up on a Danny Jimenez single, and came home on David Stone's sacrifice fly.
It was a horse race from that point on. Barstow got two back in the bottom of the fourth, highlighted by Dylan Baumgarte's two-RBI double down the third-base line, making it 6-3. There was another run in the fifth, as Monteiro singled and scored on Robert Loerwald's single. That put the Vikings ahead by four once again, but no lead seemed to be safe, with many hits yet to come.
Unfortunately for the home team, it would only score one more time. Baumgarte delivered again, dunking a double into center in the eighth, plating Gabriel Soto, who walked.
The Lasers made it a one-run game in the sixth. Barstow pitcher Joshua King tossed an effective fifth, striking out two and picking the other batter, who walked, off first base. But the next inning didn't go as smoothly, as Kim singled, Jimenez doubled him in, and Ryan Wagner followed by clearing the fence in left, for a two-RBI homer.
Vikings pitchers hit only one batter, but it turned out to be a costly plunking. With Irvine down by a run to start the eighth, Guite got hit leading off and came around on a Jimenez single, to tie the game. Jimenez scored on an error, giving the Lasers their first lead of the day. When the Vikings got their final run in the bottom half, it was again tied.
Each team got a runner to second base in the ninth, but neither was able to bring him home, leading to extra innings.
Irvine got itself in scoring position right away, as Kim led off with a double to right. The Lasers played small ball for the run, with Jimenez laying down a nice sac bunt to move Jimenez to second, and Wagner following with a long fly to left, driving in Kim.
"That's a case where they executed and we didn't. We go over and over that in practice, getting the runner in from second," said Karpel. "It's those little things that will do you in. There's nothing bigger than the little things in baseball."
Irvine's Jason Euler got the win, setting down the side in order in the 10th. Euler went the last three frames, allowing a run on two hits, walking one and striking out three. Bryan Castelli (3.1ip, 6r, 5h, 1bb) and Paul Lang (3.2ip, 1r, 5h) also pitched for the victors.
Leading the way offensively for Barstow were Ortiz, who went 3-for-5 with two RBI and a run scored, and Baumgarte, who doubled twice, walked, drove in three runs and scored one. Orozco, Henderson and Loerwald also had RBI.
Kim went 3-for-4 with a sacrifice for the Lasers, scoring three times, while Wagner drove in three runs.
Leslie had the most strikeouts of the six pitchers, collecting four K's over four frames.
The loss dropped the Vikings below .500, at 2-3, with the Lasers improving to 2-2 in the non-league match.
"This group fights hard, but has to learn how to win. This is a young team and it's a process," Karpel said. "Orange County (where Irvine is located) has some of the best schools in the country, it's a hotbed of baseball talent. We can play with teams like that, but we have to learn how to close things out. Today we made the routine plays, and I've been emphasizing that, so that's a positive. But we have to learn how to win."
The next BCC home game is coming up next Tuesday, when the team also starts its Foothill Conference schedule. The Vikings will host Antelope Valley for a 2 p.m. start.