Defending champs humbled in NSL record loss
Wendy Alexander/The Madera Tribune
Liberty’s Chase Schellenger watches his hit fall in deep center. He doubled and tripled in Liberty’s loss to the Yosemite Badgers.
As the defending Div. V Central Section Champions, the Liberty Hawks baseball team knew it had a good shot at repeating this season.
However, the Hawks received a huge slap in the face Wednesday in a record-breaking 24-2 loss to the Yosemite Badgers. The runs allowed and margin of loss were the worst in Liberty history.
In addition to not breaking through Yosemite starter Owen Bazzar, the Hawks didn’t help themselves on the field. Bazzar allowed four hits over six innings and struck out seven batters, including three looking.
Meanwhile, the Hawks committed 12 errors in the game. Liberty’s Gage Arter was tagged for seven runs over 5 1/3 innings. He struck out five and just four of the seven runs were earned.
Israel Mendoza allowed three runs, two earned, over 2/3 innings. Stefan Sidur allowed five runs, two earned in 1/3 innings in the 14-run seventh inning. First-time pitcher Rylan Howe allowed nine runs to finish out the inning. However none of the runs were earned and he struck out two.
Despite getting held to four hits, all four Liberty hits went for extra bases. Chase Schellenger hit a double and a triple and scored both runs. Colton Cardoza and Quaid Copher hit doubles.
The Hawks took the lead in the bottom of the first inning. Schellenger hit a ball off the centerfield fence for a triple. Nathanael Samarin flied out to right, but it was deep enough to drive in Schellenger.
Yosemite came back to score two runs in the second. A one-out single, followed by a throwing error put runners at first and second. After a walk, the next batter singled to drive in two runs to take the lead.
Liberty had a chance to change momentum in the second when Copher doubled with one out in the second. He went to third on a wild pitch, but back-to-back strikeouts ended the threat.
Liberty had another chance to tie the game in the fourth. Cardoza hit a shot off the centerfield fence for a one-out triple. However, a strikeout and groundout ended the inning.
Yosemite answered with three runs in the fifth on just one hit. Back-to-back errors opened the inning. After a sacrifice fly and strikeout, another error kept the inning going and a single drove in the Badgers’ fifth run.
The Badgers kept the momentum in the sixth. After a strikeout, Yosemite hit back-to-back singles. On the second single, the ball got past the Liberty right fielder and both runners scored.
A hit batter started the next rally, followed by a single. A double drove in two runs. The next batter singled to left, but the ball went by the Liberty left fielder to score another run and give the Badgers a 10-1 lead.
Liberty answered in the top of the sixth, but it wasn’t enough. Shcellenger doubled to right-center. Samarin reached on an error while Schellenger advanced to third. Cardoza flew out to center and Schellenger jogged home with the second run.
The dam broke open in the seventh inning. Yosemite sent 18 batters to the plate while scoring 14 runs. The Badgers had eight hits in the inning and the Hawks extended it with three errors.