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Schriever, Esperanza tighten grip on Crestview League
ANAHEIM - Esperanza improved to 6-0 in the Crestview League with a 7-2 pounding of visiting Canyon in soggy conditions Friday afternoon.
During league, the Aztecs have limited opponents to an average of two runs per game. Starting pitcher Blake Schriever shut down the Comanches, allowing one run and punching out six over six innings.
The rain that fell intermittently throughout the game made gripping the ball an issue, and throwing errors and passed balls cost each team runs.
“I think the kids don’t mind playing in the rain; it’s kind of a fun thing,” said Esperanza coach Mike Curran. “The problem is gripping the ball, and the footing on the grass and the dirt. Our pitchers were not throwing strikes like they can.”
The only run Schriever gave up came after he walked Connor Clift and Connor Davis back-to-back in the first inning. They moved to second and third on a passed ball and Clift scored on a single by Hunter Cooper, giving Canyon (1-5, 7-12) a 1-0 lead.
Esperanza (12-5, 6-0) responded swiftly, with four runs in their half of the first. Ryan Rafferty led off with a double and went to third on a single by Erick Leef. Haydon Nix loaded the bases when he was hit by a pitch.
A single by Steven Rodriguez drove in two runs, and a throwing error on the play allowed Nix to score from first. Rodriguez, who moved to second on the error, advanced to third on a balk, and scored on a single by Cain Allen.
Rodriguez drove in Leef in the third, and came around to score, along with Nix, on a wild pitch.
Although it is halfway done with league play, Curran said Esperanza can’t turn its focus to the playoffs.
“If you want to be a champion, you gotta play every pitch, play every at-bat,” Curran said. “So far they’ve done a tremendous job of competing every pitch. I can give every Knute Rockne speech I want, but they have to want to come to play.”