Despite star pitcher Tyler Kennedy developing a minor arm injury that kept him off the mound, the Santa Clara Bruins haven’t had much of a problem when it comes to pitching.
On Tuesday afternoon at Lynbrook, Connor Valory stepped up and kept his team in the game in his three innings of work. The Vikings didn’t score until the third inning after the Bruins took a 2-0 lead with a run in the first and another in the second.
Lynbrook would tie things up in the third with only one ball getting to the outfield. The wheels came off for the Bruins in the fifth. They left two guys stranded in scoring position in the top half and then gave up two runs, one unearned, in the bottom. Lynbrook would add an extra insurance run in their half of the sixth, winning by a 5-2 final.
“We were aggressive the first three innings, we got runners on, we made things happen, stole some bases and [the Vikings] were throwing the ball around,” remarked Assistant Coach Pedro Martinez. “We were putting the ball in play, but the turning point, in my opinion, was the third inning when were up 2-0 and we come up empty when we had runners at second and third. Then another situation in the fifth. In a tie game we have runners at second and third with one out and we come up empty again. Just a game of missed opportunities.”
The fifth inning rally that fell short was jump started by outfielder Noah Dembowski who crushed a ball over the center fielder’s head in deep center. Unfortunately, the runner at first base didn’t get a good read on the ball and was held up at third instead of coming into score the go-ahead run. Both runners would be stranded to end the inning.
“We actually had a hit and run going on that pitch, so I knew I had to swing,” acknowledged Dembowski on his double. “I tried to clear my mind before that pitch and hit the ball hard like I’m supposed to in that situation. Luckily, I got it over the outfielder’s head for a double.”
After failing to score in the fifth inning, the bottom of the fifth seemed to be in control as the Bruins retired the first two Lynbrook batters. Quickly thereafter a single and a double gave the Vikings a 3-2 lead. Then an error in the infield allowed another run to score. At that point the wind seemed to come out of the Bruins’ sails.
“When they went up 4-2, we definitely got pretty flat,” admitted Bruins center fielder Bailey Mungaray. “We should have been able to be better though, we have been in that situation before and made a comeback. We did that just last week against Gunn, from an even worse deficit.”
The loss drops Santa Clara to 4-8 in league play. They have three more games remaining on their schedule. They play a rematch with Gunn on at home on Thursday, May 3 before rounding out the campaign at home against Saratoga on May 8 and at Monta Vista on May 10.