Victoria East steady in win over St. Joseph
By BY CLAY WHITTINGTON - CWHITTINGTON@VICAD.COM
March 23, 2012 at midnight
Updated March 22, 2012 at 10:23 p.m.
Trey Thormahlen gave the Victoria East Titans exactly what they needed when they needed it.
After playing St. Joseph to 4-4 tie through four innings Thursday evening at Riverside Stadium, the junior outfielder provided the Titans with a shot in the arm by delivering a solo home run, triggering a four-run outburst in the inning and putting the Titans in position to escape with a 9-6 victory.
But the big hit over the left field wall not only gave East a cushion against the Flyers, it also gave the team some much-needed momentum in a short-turnaround situation as it prepares for its District 30-4A opener at G-P on Friday.
"It was a fastball high, and I took it and the team starts to rally when something like that happens," Thormahlen said. "We just kept going and going.
"And once we get going, we are gone."
The surge continued in the sixth inning, when Hunter Perkins matched his teammate's performance by sending another ball over the left field fence, giving the Titans a five-run advantage, 9-4, that would not be erased.
In all, East scored in five of the game's seven innings with the first and last innings being the only exceptions.
The production is exactly what Titans head coach Wes Kolle expects from his team.
"We want to try and scratch a run and win every inning," the coach said. "We focus in on one pitch, one batter and one inning at a time and just try to win that inning. (If we do that) then the end result is going to be good for us."
So far, the philosophy has led to winning record (10-8 overall) through non-district competition.
Equally important to the team's success was Adrian Gonzalez's performance on the mound.
After giving up three runs in the second inning, the sophomore pitcher allowed just one run over the following three innings before Cole Urban replaced him in the sixth to close out the game.
"Adrian did a great job," Kolle said. "He struggled a little bit in the second inning, but he bounced back."
Gonzalez struck out five of the 23 batters he faced, earning a win in the process.
Urban struck out two batters during the final two innings, but also allowed a hit and walk in the seventh inning with both leading to St. Joseph runs.
"They scratched a couple in the last inning, but, for the most part, Cole was challenging the hitters, and he did what we asked him to," Kolle said.
Offensively, the Titans tallied 11 hits as John Garcia, Perkins, Thormahlen and Aaron Prado produced two hits apiece. Only two Titans did not post a hit in the win.
East third baseman Garcia was responsible for putting the first two runs on the scoreboard, connecting on a two-RBI double with two outs and the bases loaded in the top of the second inning. The hit allowed Prado and Ryan Galvan to cross home plate.
The Flyers (5-9) responded in the bottom of the inning, scoring on consecutive at-bats as Braylin Kasper and Matt Perez both connected on RBI singles. Moments later, with the bases later, Clayton Davidson scored from third base on a passed ball and St. Joseph took a 3-2 advantage into the third inning.
But the lead would not last for long.
The Titans drew even at 3-3 in the top of the third as Robert Gleinser hit an RBI single to score Thormalen.
The score held until the following inning, when Trey Hempel crossed home on a wild pitch, giving East a 4-3 lead.
No lead was safe, though, and the Flyers knotted things up once again in the bottom of the inning on Jared Cantu's run, and the squads entered the fifth inning tied 4-4.
Then Thormalen quickly regained control for the Titans with his home run. Prado, Adrian Gonzalez and Ryan Galvan consecutively got on base and proceeded to score, giving East a commanding 8-4 lead entering the bottom of the inning.
The Flyers, however, would not go away as Clayton Davidson opened the seventh inning with a single and Jerry Vasquez followed by getting on base via a walk. Stephen Boedeker would provide a sacrifice fly to score Davidson and Vasquez scored the final run of the game on a fielder's choice.
Now the Titans embark on a run through district, looking for a repeat trip to the postseason, where they hope to avoid lopsided losses that ended their 2011 campaign. In its inaugural season, East fell to Calallen 22-4 and 11-1 in a best-of-three series.
"We've been talking about how the next 10 ballgames really mean something," Kolle said. "We've got to step up our game.
"The mountain that we are trying to climb now is a huge mountain, and we just want to keep climbing it and not have any setbacks. Hopefully, we will peak at the right time and head into the playoffs with a lot of momentum."