It was tough sledding for Pierce’s baseball team at the Mike West Invitational Varsity Baseball Tournament last week, where the Bears went winless in games against Colusa, East Nicolaus, and Mt. Shasta.
Pierce opened the tournament with a game against their county rivals, and struggled to get the bats going in a 4-1 loss to the RedHawks on Thursday.
That had a lot to do with the performance of Colusa’s left-handed freshman Drew Bradbury, who got the start for the RedHawks and turned in a commanding performance in just his second game at the varsity level. The 15-year-old went the distance, pitching a two-hit, seven inning gem for Colusa with 12 strikeouts, zero walks, zero earned runs. He didn’t have much breathing room for the majority of the game, as the RedHawks nursed a 1-0 lead into the top of the seventh inning.
Bradbury’s performance on the mound was flawless until the fourth inning, when Jonathon Corchado hit a dribbler down the first base line and legged out a single, breaking up the freshman’s perfect game. That was the only hit the Bears could muster until the bottom of the seventh inning– at that point down 4-1 – when Matt Tapia led off with a single into shallow center-field. Tapia stole second base before advancing to third on an error, which also put Leo Martinez at first. Garrett Grimmer entered as a pinch runner for Martinez but found himself in a pickle when he jumped on a pickoff throw from Bradbury. Colusa traded a run – unearned for Bradbury – for an out, running down Grimmer while allowing Tapia to cross home plate. Bradbury proceeded to strike out Alex Richens for the second out of the inning, and Estabon Briones grounded out to first base to seal the win for Colusa.
“Drew had a great performance. He’s a stud,” said Colusa head coach Eric Lay. “He was economical – he threw 89 pitches, and his limit was 90. He’s a strike thrower, and he worked all three pitches well. If he gets in the weight room, he has a chances to be really special. He just needs to get that velocity up a bit to take his game to the next level.”
Colusa’s Raymond Frias was 3-for-4 in the game with an RBI, and Christian Lyss belted a two-run triple in the top of the seventh inning to help seal the win. Bradbury helped his own cause with his bat, going 2-for-3 with a pair of singles.
East Nicolaus 11, Pierce 1
Pierce’s batting struggles continued in a five-inning, 11-1 loss to East Nicolaus later on Thursday. Tapia was once again a bright spot, going 1-for-3 with a triple, while Seth Little was 1-for-2 with an RBI. Leo Martinez, Anthony Labreque, and Alex Richens each singled for Pierce.
Mt. Shasta 12, Pierce 8
Pierce earned the No. 9 seed for bracket play, and faced off with eighth-seeded Mt. Shasta on Saturday. Down 12-1 in the fifth inning, Pierce mounted a late rally in which they scored seven runs and avoided losing the game due to the mercy rule, but ultimately fell 12-8 in the sixth. Cole Stassi was 2-for-2 with 4 RBIs and Jonathan Corchado was 2-for-4 with 2 RBIs, leading the way for Pierce.
East Nicolaus 11, Colusa 10
After opening the tournament with the win against the Bears, Colusa lost a heartbreaker to East Nicolaus in pool play on Thursday, 11-10. Despite a four-run rally in the sixth, Colusa couldn’t pull out the win.
Christian Lyss was 1-for-2 with three RBIs for Colusa, while John Boeger was 1-for-2 with a pair of RBIs. After pool play, Colusa was given the sixth seed, earning a spot in the Silver Bracket.
Willows 4, Colusa 2
When they returned to action on Saturday, Colusa met up with Willows in the tournament’s Silver Bracket. The Honkers and RedHawks were knotted at 1-1 through seven innings, but Willows scored three runs in the top of the eighth to take a 4-1 lead. Colusa was able to put one run on the board in the bottom half of the inning, but a double-play helped to derail their comeback bid. Raymond Frias got the start and threw 98 pitches, allowing just one unearned run over seven innings for the RedHawks. Frias struck out at total of 10 batters before giving way to Leo Guzman and Clayton Angus in the eighth. Frias and Lyss both went 2-for-4 to lead the way for Colusa.
The RedHawks (2-2) travel to Gridley this week for tournament play, and Pierce (0-4) returns to action on Tuesday, March 20, against the Honkers in Willows.