After opening up the De Anza League season win an 8-3 home win over Homestead on Wednesday, March 22, the Wilcox Chargers looked poised to win both games of the series on Friday. Unfortunately for Chargers fans, Wilcox would be unable to hold a late two-run lead, eventually losing on a walk-off wild pitch in the bottom of the seventh, for a 5-4 loss.
Wilcox starting pitcher Jake Prettol delivered a solid start in this one, allowing the Chargers the opportunity to get a lead. Prettol did an excellent job limiting the damage in his first inning of work. After having runners at second and third with nobody out, Prettol got out of the jam only allowing one run. Prettol would end up allowing just two runs in his four-and-one-third innings of work on the mound.
“My changeup was the biggest key for me; I was throwing it over the outside,” chimed Prettol on how he managed to keep the Mustangs batters off balance. “It was working really good today.”
Prettol’s starting pitching opponent for Homestead was also a fellow southpaw who was likewise keeping the Chargers’ batters off balance early. Wilcox managed to squeeze out a run in the fourth, taking advantage of a lucky fly ball single that should have been caught. Chargers’ catcher Ryan Hauck made them pay for it with a hard hit ball off the third baseman’s glove, knocking home an RBI to tie the score at one.
The Mustangs would get that run right back in the bottom of the fourth, going back ahead 2-1. But Wilcox would drop a three-run barrage in the fifth. The key at bat coming from Chargers’ second baseman Patty Sanchez. With the bases loaded and just one out, Sanchez smoked a single through the 5.5 hole between short and third, driving in two runs and giving the Chargers its first lead of the afternoon.
“I got a fastball middle in, a bit on my hands,” acknowledged Sanchez on the pitch he drove for the clutch single. “I was struggling the first at bat seeing the ball, so second at bat was just focusing on seeing the ball, get my hands through first and then let my hips go.”
The Chargers would add a fourth run in the inning on a double steal. An errant throw down to second base went into center field and both runners from first and third were safe at second and home.
In the bottom of the fifth, Jared Cabildo took over for Wilcox on the mound with one out and one on in the inning. Cabildo would do an excellent job getting out of the inning without conceding a run.
Wilcox, though, would be unable to add an extra insurance run in their half of the sixth and after a controversial safe call at second base, Homestead would drive home their second run of the bottom of the sixth to tie the score at 4-4.
A couple of misplays in the field, in addition to the wild pitch to end the game, certainly didn’t help the case for Wilcox.
“A game that we could have had, game we should have had, let it get away,” remarked Wilcox Head Coach Matt Huth. “One bad inning where we threw the ball around. When you don’t take care of the ball, the baseball gods are not gonna be with you.”