By Bill Choy
Triplicate Sports Editor
Two games played back-to-back at home on Friday against Grants Pass, Ore., were a contradiction in terms for the Del Norte High varsity baseball squad.
After jumping to a 3-0 lead in the first game, several fielding errors in the fourth inning contributed to a Cavemen run. With Grants Pass seizing the momentum, the Cavemen continued to pile up the runs as the team eventually pulled away with a convincing 15-4 win over the Warriors.
In the second game, Del Norte came out with more clarity and was able to hold on to a 7-5 win to go to 4-5 for the year.
Head coach Pablo Lorenzi said the big difference was focus.
During the first game, once his team got up 3-0, they stopped playing with intensity and allowed Grants Pass to come back with several fielding errors, letting the game slip away, he said.
"It's about having the right attitude," Lorenzi said. "We lost focus, and we pretty much fell apart. We just didn't make plays that we needed to make."
In the second game, a refocused Warrior team got back on the field.
During the first inning, Justin Yslas roped a shot into the outfield to score in three runs.
Trailing 3-4 in the bottom of the fourth, Chad Freeman hit a single to bring in Travis Tyler and tie the game up at 4 runs a piece.
In the sixth, with the game still tied, the Warriors exploded for three runs, including a deep shot to right field by Frankie Cardenas and a nice hit at the third base line by Yslas to take the lead..
Yslas also contributed on the mound, striking out three batters in relief.
Although the Cavemen were able to get a run in the seventh, Yslas was able to throw a strike with a two balls and two strike count with two outs to end the game
"It was just about attitude," Lorenzi said about the positive showing by the Warriors in the second game. "They had a go- get-them attitude."
He was especially pleased that deep in the game in the sixth, with the score tied, his team went out to bat with a tenacious attitude, looked for the hits and were able to score runs to win the contest.
"It was nice to see them play like that," Lorenzi said. "We didn't buckle under."
The Warrior's fielding was also solid, with Del Norte making several hustling plays, including a nifty out by Kevin Walsworth.
Playing shortstop, a low ball close to the ground came his way and he was able to lunge for it to get the out before it touched the ground.
Lorenzi hopes both games were a learning experience for his team about what to do and what not to do during games, which players can use as the season progresses.
In the first game, Walsworth, the starting pitcher, had two strikeouts.
Tyler went 2-for-3 with two singles and a sacrifice bunt.
In the second game, Walsworth went a perfect 4-for-4, with two doubles and two singles. Yslas went two-for-3 with a double and a single. Starting pitcher Logan Lesina had two strikeouts
The game was also a reunion for Cavemen head coach Stacy Morgan, who is a graduate of Del Norte High.
Del Norte JV 11, Grants Pass JV, 10, game one: Grants Pass JV 8, Del Norte JV 5, game two: The Del Norte JV baseball team split a doubleheader against Grants pass Friday afternoon at home.
In the first game, The Warriors came back from four runs down in the seventh and scored five runs to earn the win.
Zack Hegelmeyer hit the game winner, when he hit a three-run double. Pitcher Jim Finigan pitched a "great" five innings of work, head coach John Valdez said.
In the second contest, the game went "back and fourth," Valdez said, before Grants Pass pulled away for the win.
Nate Bruder pitched three good innings and went 2-for-3.