Atascadero junior Nathan Meredith smashed a high changeup over the left-field wall at Barnhart Field as the second batter in Tuesday’s game against Paso Robles. Paso Robles sophomore pitcher Ryan Harvel hung his head. The home run put the Bearcats in unfamiliar territory.
It was the first time in league play this season that Paso Robles has trailed.
“I was thinking we were in for a little different competition that we saw last week,” Paso Robles senior catcher Mark Armstrong said, referring to a sweep of Pioneer Valley last week when the Bearcats outscored the Panthers 36-2.
The Greyhounds’ lead didn’t last for long, however. Paso Robles answered with seven runs in the bottom of the first inning, capped by a three-run double by Armstrong in his second plate appearance in the inning en route to a 10-5 rivalry victory over Atascadero in the first of a three-game series. Armstrong finished the game 2 for 4 with four RBI. Paso Robles amassed 12 hits in the game, and five players had multiple-hit games.
Armstrong used a pep talk in the dugout after the inning to settle down Harvel after the early home run. Harvel went on to pitch four solid innings to earn the win.
“I don’t know if we are going to score 10 runs like that every time. For us to be successful, we are going to have to pitch and play good defense and get some timely hitting,” Paso Robles head coach Derek Stroud said.
So far this season that formula has been working. Along with Harvel (3-0, 1.14 ERA), the Bearcats have a deep rotation that includes Wednesday starter Brad Tews (2-2, 3.05 ERA) and senior ace Nolan Binkele (3-0, 0.00 ERA). Junior Aiden Kerns and sophomore Lucas Climer have also been giving the Bearcats good innings, Stroud said.
“We don’t have one complete game. We use our guys,” Stroud said.
Orchestrating it all from behind the plate is Armstrong.
“He calls everything,” Stroud said. “He is a leader and a hard worker. You are just thankful to have a guy like that.”
Helping the pitchers’ causes is the return of two players holding down the left side of the infield, junior shortstop and coach’s son Will Stroud and junior third baseman Wyatt Gidcumb. Both players missed last season with torn ACLs.
“Knowing that in a game we might have to score two or three runs that’s huge for us,” Armstrong said.
Tews will be on the mound for Paso Robles (9-3, 6-1 PAC 8) Wednesday in Atascadero when the Greyhounds try to rebound. The Bearcats remain one game back from first-place Righetti (11-1, 7-0 PAC 8).
Arroyo Grande 9, San Luis Obispo 7
Righetti 8, Pioneer Valley 1
Atascadero 7, Paso Robles 2
The Greyhounds scored four runs in the sixth inning to hand the Bearcats their first PAC 8 loss.
Brianna Becerra provided the big blow of the night with a bases-loaded three-run triple in the sixth; she finished 1 for 3 for the game.
Laryn Fant was 3 for 4 with an RBI, and Sarah Wulff was 2 for 4 with an RBI. And Bailey Doherty earned the victory, allowing two runs on seven hits in five innings from the circle for Atascadero.
For Paso Robles, Alyssa Valle took the loss, going 5 2/3 innings and allowing seven runs on five hits with four strikeouts.
Atascadero (8-6 overall, 3-2 PAC 8) next plays host to Pioneer Valley on Friday, while Paso Robles (7-6 overall, 4-1 PAC 8) plays host to Righetti on the same day.
San Luis Obispo 15, Mission Prep 4
Malia Xia Gin had two singles, a double, a triple and drove in two runs to lead the Tigers.
Marissa Piatt added two singles, a triple and two RBI, and Amanda Marcum chipped in with a single, double and two RBI for San Luis Obispo (7-5 overall, 3-2 PAC 8), which next plays host to Arroyo Grande on Friday.
Arroyo Grande 16, Righetti 2
All three of the Eagles’ doubles teams swept — highlighted by Patrick Engle and Parker Turner (6-0, 6-0, 6-0) and Dylan Black and Cayden Marquis (6-0, 6-0, 6-1).
Arroyo Grande improves to 8-0 in PAC 8 play (12-1 overall) and plays host to Santa Barbara in a nonconference match Wednesday.
Paso Robles 10, St. Joseph 8
Brysan Pesenti won two sets to lead Paso Robles, including a 6-3 victory over St. Joseph’s No. 1 player.
Singles players Albert Lara and Evan Proulx and the doubles teams of Ryan Stronks and CJ Wilson and Manato Maeda and Reese Eddy all won two of the three sets to lead the Bearcats.
San Luis Obispo 18, Atascadero 0
Sam Johnson’s 6-0, 6-0, 6-0 win at No. 3 singles highlighted the Tigers’ clean sweep of the Greyhounds.
Morro Bay 11, Santa Maria 7
Simon Janzen (6-1, 6-1, 6-0) and Ethan Siems (6-2, 6-7 (5), 6-3) and the doubles team of Marley Chang and Taylor Denham (6-1, 7-6 (6), 6-1) led the Pirates to victory.
Morro Bay (5-7 overall, 3-6 Los Padres League) next plays at Cabrillo on Thursday.
Templeton 10, Santa Ynez 8
Colby Grey (6-0, 6-0, 6-0) and Chaz Darrow (6-1, 6-0, 6-1) breezed through their three sets to lead the Eagles.
Cabrillo 16, Nipomo 2
The doubles teams of Andrew Foley and Carlos Diaz won two sets in the Titans’ losing effort.
Pioneer Valley 10, Mission Prep 8
Mission Prep’s Luke Llaurado and Frank Lin played No. 1 doubles and won 6-0, 6-1, 6-0 in a loss to Pioneer Valley.
San Luis Obispo 432, Paso Robles 446
Coleman Godfrey earned medalist honors with a 78 on Tuesday to lead the host Tigers to victory at the San Luis Obispo Country Club.
Casey Leebrick added a 83 for San Luis Obispo, which improved to 6-3 in the PAC 8 (8-3 overall) and plays host to Righetti on Thursday at the country club.
Bailey Flickinger and Connor Nolan each shot 84s for Paso Robles (6-2 PAC 8), which next plays host to Pioneer Valley on Thursday.
Righetti 401, Atascadero 494
Keith Moles shot a 69 to earn medalist honors and lead Righetti at Chalk Mountain Golf Course.
For the Greyhounds, Austin McMillin led the way with a 91, and Carson McMillin added a 92.
Arroyo Grande 3, Righetti 0
Matt Wingerden had 10 kills and three blocks to lead the Eagles to a 25-12, 25-16, 25-22 victory that keeps them perfect in the PAC 8 at 7-0 (10- overall)
Austin Dickens added four kills, Sasha Bylsma 25 assists and AJ Panetta five digs for Arroyo Grande, which next plays Thursday at home against Mission Prep.
Righetti 151 Paso Robles 135
The Bearcats’ 200 freestyle relay team of Mackenzie Raymond, Cece Ramirez, Sarah Clark and Audrey Hughes took first place with a CIF consideration time.
Paso Robles’ medley relay of Ramirez, Miranda Pasky, Clark and Hughes finished second and also recorded a CIF consideration time.
Raymond also turned in a personal best of 56.79 with a victory in the 100 free, and Gabriella Clayton finished first in the 500 free and was part of the winning 400 free relay along with Raymond, Pasky and Emily Christian.
Righetti 192, Paso Robles 90
Grant Scheiffele finished first in the 100 fly (59.97) and 100 back (1:02.74), and teammate Gavin Hughes had wins in the 200 free (1:52.02) and the 100 free (52.16) in Paso Robles’ losing effort.
Paso Robles 3, St. Joseph 1
Paso Robles High defeated the St. Joseph Knights, 26-24, 25-22, 17-25, 27-25.
Ramon Torres had two aces and 40 assists, Chris Tabarez had 9 kills and Ethan Todd had 1 ace, 18 kills, and 10 digs for Paso Robles. The Bearcats improve to 6-5 overall (4-3 PAC 8) and play next on Thursday at San Luis Obispo High.