BARSTOW • "We know we'll have good and bad games," said Aztecs head coach Kenny Phillips. "It's a long season and a loss like this, it's good to get it out of the way during tournament season."
The Barstow High School baseball team continued its competition in the San Gorgonio Tournament on Thursday, hosting Ramona. In the Aztecs' first loss of the year, the Rams put six runs on the board in the first inning on the way to a 15-5 win.
It was a tough afternoon for the Aztecs, who gave up 16 hits and made five errors. It's coach Phillips' philosophy that the team should get at least 10 hits in order to ensure a competitive game, which the Aztecs have been doing. On Thursday, however, the offense also came up a bit short, collecting eight hits.
The Rams got off to a flying start, sending 12 batters to the plate in the first inning. Four singles, three walks, three stolen bases and two errors added up to six runs by the time it was over.
"There were a lot of mental breakdowns and too many errors. We got caught flat-footed," said Phillips. "And when our pitching struggled early, I had to start subbing a lot sooner than I wanted to."
The Aztecs' biggest frame was also the first, as they got three runs back in the bottom half. After two quick outs, Marcus Madero and Austin Crank stroked back-to-back singles, followed by a towering home run over the centerfield fence by Austin Willis.
The Rams, though, came right back with five runs in the second. They added on two in the third, one in the fifth, and another in the seventh.
"After we got some runs in the first, I thought we'd continue to chip away," said coach Phillips. "It just didn't materialize."
The Aztecs were reasonably quiet after that, but when they hit, they were able to build off it. Sean Schoffstahl led off the third with a single to center, was bunted to second by Colin Klein, and scored on Madero's single. In the fifth, Klein hit a two-out double, went to third on a Nathan Ridge single, and scored on an error.
Ridge went 1-for-1 off the bench, with a walk and stolen base, and also made a running grab of a fly ball to right for the last out of the sixth. Leftfielder Jordan Soto made a nice catch to retire the final batter of the fourth.
Barstow used three pitchers, with Gabe Arrizaga spending the longest amount of time on the hill. Arrizaga gave up two runs and six hits over four innings, striking out one.
The Rams' Jess Morales got the win, going six innings and allowing five runs on eight hits, walking two and striking out two.
In the end, it was just 'one of those games' from which Phillips hopes his players can move on.
"It would have been nice to win the tournament to start the season, but there's a lot of season left," coach Phillips said. "I'm still optimistic that this is our year to make some noise in the league. We'll learn from our mistakes, have a fresh start on Saturday and go out and play our game."
The Aztecs (2-1) will finish up the tournament at San Gorgonio High School on Saturday. They host a non-leaguer with Big Bear on Wednesday at 3 p.m.