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The Hornet

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The Hornet

Serving the Fullerton Community Since 1922

The Hornet

Lancers snap losing streak, get first league win

An Enoch Kim RBI bunt completed a last-inning comeback over Buena Park and earned Sunny Hills their first Freeway League win of the season.

Lancer pitcher Joshua Dibble helped stop the Coyotes in the 6-5 win. The junior was able to force groundouts and fly outs from Coyote hitters on multiple occasions with runners on base in the early innings of the Lancers fourth Freeway League game.

““When we get a chance to score runs we have to find a way to score runs because late in the game these last couple runs don’t matter then if we get those runs in early in the game,” Buena Park Manager Alvin Graham said about leaving runners on base early on.

Bryant Durflinger took the mound for Buena Park early and held the Lancers scoreless until the bottom of the third inning when a hit by Cade Caffrey drove in a run to put Sunny Hills up 1-0.

The Coyotes (9-7, 1-2) quickly responded to going down and evened up the game but with the bases loaded Dibble was able to get out of trouble and forced a fly out to end the inning 1-1.

“He really battled, he commanded his offspeed pitches really well,“ said Sunny Hill manager Arlie Kearney about Dibble, and added that “he was really really good today.”

Dibble was relieved in the fifth when he was replaced by Luis Garza.

Garza could not escape trouble like Dibble and his tenure on the mound was brief since he was pulled after giving up three straight walks to load the bases in the top of the fifth.

With no outs and the bases loaded the Lancers (10-8, 1-3) went to Jaewoo Park for relief.

The junior’s relief effort was off to a rough start after he balked which allowed a runner to score the go-ahead run.

Park overcame his error to throw back-to-back strikeouts and forced a groundout to stop the Coyotes from having a big offensive inning.

““it was a big moment,”  Kearney said on parks fifth inning performance to keep the game close.

Though Aaron Paek got on base for the Lancers in the bottom of the fifth, Durflinger had back-to-back strikeouts of his own to end the inning.

The top of the sixth inning saw the Coyotes extend their lead when Andre Perry drove in a run with a triple.

For most of five innings Durflinger was able to keep the Lancers from being effective offensively, but in the bottom of the sixth Sunny Hills batters got to the senior.

A leadoff triple by Park marked the beginning of a strong offensive inning for the Lancers.

Moments after Parks triple, Caffrey had a double to drive the junior in and cut the Coyotes lead to one.

After giving up the lead cutting run Durflinger was moved off the mound and senior pitcher Alex Rodriguez took his place.

The pitching did not stop the Lancers bats from tying up the league matchup.

Freshman Billy Bowman, the first batter Rodriguez faced, got a hit off the senior on which Caffrey crossed home plate to make it 3-3.

The next three Lancer batters after Bowman could not get on base and the inning ended tied.

In an almost immediate reaction to the Lancers tying the game Buena Park retook their lead in the final inning.

A sacrifice fly by Durflinger put the Coyotes up 4-3 and a line drive double by Jonathan Davalos extended their lead back to two.

Down by two and down to their last three outs,  Kearney sent in Marquis Knighten to pinch hit and try to make a play.

The Coyotes made a change of their own and sent in pitcher Jakob Burnett to close out the game.

“The calls at the end of the game just worked for us,” Kearney said

The Lancers change produced immediate results when on the first pitch of the bottom of the inning Knighten made powerful contact with the ball and sent it flying over 400 feet away from home plate and over the center field fence to make it 5-4.

Burnett’s pitching woes were just beginning and following the home run he gave up three straight walks to load the bases with nobody out.

The junior was pulled off the mound after his third consecutive walk and Perry was handed the task of closing out the game for Buena Park.

Bowman was the first batter he faced and although Perry pushed him to a 3-2 count, he walked him which allowed the game tying run to cross the plate.

With the game tied and the bases loaded Kim stepped up to the plate with the opportunity to clinch the Lancers first Freeway League win and break a four game losing streak.

The sophomore did not let that opportunity pass and bunted a ball into the infield which made it possible for an already running Park to score the game-winning run.

“I thought we played well enough to win, we just got make plays towards the end of the game and find a way to win,” Graham said

“It was just great to see our guys keep battling back, and I thought they showed some real solid character in battling back,” Kearney said

Sunny Hills takes on La Habra on Friday in their next league matchup. Buena Park hosts Troy on Friday.