It was the bottom of the seventh inning of the second game against the Fresno Christian Eagles on Saturday, March 25, at Coast Union. The Broncos, 5-0 losers in the first game of the doubleheader were behind 5-0 again and on the verge of being shut out twice against the Eagles.
David Amodei led off with a single, his second; and Auggie Johnson, who already had two hits against the Eagles in the second game, ripped another single. Riley Kennedy was hit by a pitch, and the table was set for Thor Ronemus.
With the bases loaded, Ronemus struck a ball high and far into the outfield, and it was caught, but Amodei tagged up at third and easily jogged home with the shutout-busting run for Coast.
Unfortunately for the Broncos, that was the only run they would score in a 5-1 nightcap defeat.
It wasn’t as though Coast couldn’t make contact against Eagle pitchers, because the Broncos had nine hits in that second game. But as coach Brian Machado has mentioned more than once, “Timely hitting wins ballgames,” and that issue haunted the Broncos during both games of the twin bill. In fact, Coast left 10 runners on base in that second game.
Three errors by Coast and some shaky base running also help explain their failure to score runs. That double loss dropped the Broncos’ early-season record to 3-5.
Kennedy, coming back from a non-serious strained knee, pitched effectively in that second game, he launched 82 pitches, striking out five, giving up seven hits in seven innings, but only one of the runs against him was earned.
In the first game, the Broncos could only muster five hits against Eagle pitching, and all five runs by the Eagles were earned. Chase Volz pitched the first six innings (throwing 74 pitches) and Kennedy pitched the seventh inning (19 pitches). Auggie Johnson pitched briefly in the fifth.
Coming into this week Kennedy is the leading hitter among starting players with a .438 average. Johnson is hitting at a .400 clip; Volz has a .316 average; Ronemus has a .286 average; and Jack MacKinnon, playing brilliantly in center field, has a .267 average for Coast Union.
On Tuesday the Broncos played at Dunn School in the Santa Ynez Valley and were humbled by the Earwigs, 19-0, in five innings. Dunn School always puts quality players on the field, according to coach Machado. “My guess is that Dunn School plays baseball all year, not just for three months,” Machado added.
“All their hitters, one through nine, are good. They got a lot of hits off of us, and not just little dinkers,” Machado explained in an email interview. The coach said the wind was blowing out and his team “misplayed a few fly balls” in addition to giving up legitimate hits.
Chase Volz started the game on the mound and gave up 10 runs in the first inning. Magnus Marthaler also pitched for Coast Union. Johnson, Kennedy and Amodei hit safely for the Broncos. Machado said notwithstanding the whitewash by the Earwigs, only three Coast Union players struck out.
The next home game for Coast Union is Tuesday, April 4, against Shandon, which is the first game of the Coast Valley League for the Broncos.