For the second day in a row, San Luis Obispo High’s baseball team had an offensive outpouring against Paso Robles.
But the Tigers had to work to erase a 6-1 Bearcats lead after the second inning to pull out a 10-7 victory at SLO Stadium.
San Luis Obispo (7-10, 4-4 PAC 7 League) had multi-hit games from catcher R.J. Hassey, who had three RBI, and second baseman Nick Hill, who had an RBI double in the fourth to jumpstart a four-run rally.
Paso Robles (4-9, 0-5) was looking for its first league win, and the Bearcats built an early lead with a barrage of hits off Tigers starter Dylan McGee in the second.
The Bearcats led off the inning with bunt singles by Ben Mecham and Kris Pequeno before stringing together a series of hits. Bailey Gaither, Lazoch Ford, Rudy Binkele and Kai Bedell all drove in runs in the inning.
With nobody out and the Tigers down 5-1, San Luis Obispo coach Brian Wong went to right-hander Jake Niezen, who induced a double play and then a groundout to stop the bleeding with a 6-1 deficit.
Niezen, a senior right-hander with plenty of zip on his fastball, then locked down the Bearcats for the next four innings before giving up one run in the seventh for the 10-7 final.
“I was feeling good today,” Niezen said. “I had some tendinitis earlier this season and had to take four or five games off.
But my arm feels good now. I just wanted to keep us in it. I wanted to battle. To get back in it, the team did a great job.”
Hassey has been a rock behind the plate for the Tigers this season, blocking balls in the dirt and whipping throws to first with runners on base to try to catch them creeping too far off base.
On Wednesday, the senior had an RBI single in the third, a sacrifice bunt to drive in a runner in the fourth and a two-strike liner up the middle for another RBI during the sixth.
“All last week (when the Tigers didn’t have any games scheduled), we worked on our hitting,” Hassey said. “We worked on keeping our hands back and driving it up the middle and to right center. I think we felt comfortable at the plate today.”
Hassey said that a team goal is to win the rest of its league games for a chance at a title. And the key will be to “play loose and have fun.”
Wong said San Luis Obispo will have to concentrate on minimizing mental mistakes during games, but added that the team has progressed steadily since the beginning of the season.
“It’s all about limiting those mental mistakes,” Wong said. “You can live with the physical ones. Paso Robles played well today. They executed and they got bunts down. Niezen was fantastic for us today.”
The Tigers face the Bearcats again Friday in the finale of the three-game series at Paso Robles at 4:30 p.m.