The Liberty Hawks baseball team got off to a blistering start against Yosemite-Oakhurst and never let off the gas, winning it 27-1 at home.
The Hawks kicked off the blowout with 13 runs in the first inning Thursday at Liberty.
After senior Colton Cardoza started the fireworks with a two-run triple, junior Trevor Porter followed up with an RBI double. Freshman Jackson Bucher then hit one down the line and Porter from third, essentially putting the game to bed early.
Senior Nathanael Samarin also drove in a run in the first inning and ended up with seven RBIs in the game. Samarin led the team with five hits.
“We’re happy with the win and we really wanted to finish the week right,” Liberty coach Mario Cosma said. “Everybody contributed today. It was a great team win.”
The Hawks’ pitching was a big part of the dominant win. Sophomore Quaid Copher started on the mound, pitching in four innings and recording four strikeouts while allowing one hit.
“Our pitching staff was in a position where we were able to make quality pitches and I have to give it to Quaid Copher,” Cosma said. “He stepped up for us and gave us four solid innings.”
Senior Israel Mendoza pitched in three innings, allowing five hits and striking out three batters.
“Israel Mendoza — what can you say about the kid?” Cosma said. “He has been in our program and really established himself as one of our mainstays. He really helped us out with three quality innings.”
Mendoza found himself in a jam in the fifth inning, but escaped without giving up any runs.
“He competes, attacks the zone. He was able to get people out,” Cosma said. “If he is aggressive, we feel that he can help us get people out. I couldn’t be more happy with him.”
The Badgers loaded the bases again in the seventh inning and scored their only run of the game on an error.
“We had a little mental lapse there,” Cosma said. “You didn’t want that to happen, but credit them. They wanted to get a run on the board and they caught us sleeping.”
The Hawks did most of the damage in the first and fourth innings, where they scored seven runs. Cardoza had four RBIs in the game, while Jakson Bucher and Chase Schellenger each brought it in three runs.
The Hawks lost 24-2 against Yosemite on March 20. Since then, the Hawks beat the Badgers 14-7 on March 25, defeated Madera, 4-0, on March 27, and their latest dominant win on Thursday.
“[The loss] was a wake up call for us,” Cosma said. “We have been struggling with trying to put things together in all phases. It starts with our defense and pitching. Today, we really focused on that.”