Tyler Takeda/The Madera Tribune
Liberty third baseman Nathaneal Samarin makes the throw across the diamond for an out. Samarin made a number of plays at third in Wednesday’s loss to Central Valley Christian.
VISALIA — The Liberty Hawks baseball team couldn’t muster enough offense to upset top-seeded Central Valley Christian-Visalia in a 3-0 Div. V semifinal loss.
While pitcher Emilio Cabrera did enough to keep the Hawks within striking distance, CVC starter Trenton Vanderveen held the Hawks to just two hits in a complete game shutout Wednesday.
“This loss is going to gnaw at me because I think we should have had that ball game,” head coach Kevin Rosenwinkel said. “Looking back on it, we got beat by a pretty good ball club. I think we had a chance to win it, but that’s baseball.”
Fourteen of Liberty’s 21 outs were recorded by the infield.
“They played good defense on us,” Rosenwinkel said. “Our hitters hit hard ground balls. That’s all we can ask for them is to put the ball in play hard and make them make plays. They made them. Their whole infield cleaned us up on those ground balls.”
Despite allowing baserunners in five of the six innings, Cabrera only allowed three runs and stranded nine, including six runners in scoring position.
“They only squared up about three pitches,” Rosenwinkel said. “When they are only squaring up the ball three or four times, you have to applaud him for his outing. He took us five solid innings. He competed every inning and gave us a chance to win the ball game.”
The Hawks had baserunners in five of the seven innings, but only two runners advanced into scoring position.
The Cavaliers started the scoring in the third inning. Their leadoff batter reached on a single and came in to score after back-to-back singles.
Cabrera uncorked a wild pitch and CVC took a 2-0 lead. Cabrera got out of the inning with back-to-back flyouts and a forceout.
Cody Hill opened the third inning with a swinging bunt in front of the mound. After a popout, Hill stole second and advanced to third on a groundout, but he was left stranded.
Nathanael Samarin hit a one-out double down the third base line, but he wouldn’t advance for the final two outs of the inning.
From there, the Hawks only had three more baserunners and none advanced past first base.
Cabrera allowed a one-out single in the fifth, but an error and another single allowed the run to score. He got a lineout to right and a groundout to short to get out of the inning.
Brixton Gomes allowed a one out single and a walk in the sixth for the Hawks, but got a double play to end the inning.