Atwater's Sanchez shuts out Buhach Colony

slynch@mercedsunstar.comApril 19, 2013 

ATWATER -- Jonathan Ruiz needed just six pitches to set down the Atwater baseball team in order in the first inning.

The Falcons' Ryan Sanchez countered with an eight-pitch effort in the bottom half of the frame.

From the onset, the demeanor and approach of both right-handers indicated runs would be at a premium on Friday afternoon at Buhach Colony.

And so they were.

Good execution and a Thunder error helped Atwater push across two runs in the second inning. That's all the offense Sanchez would need as the junior led the Falcons to a 2-0 victory. He struck out five and limited BC to three hits in a complete-game shutout.

"I just kept the ball off of the plate and never threw anything down the middle," Sanchez said. "They're an excellent fastball hitting team, so I went with a lot of offspeed stuff. Mainly throwing my curve and my changeup.

"The last few times out didn't really go well for me, but I didn't really change anything.

"I just stuck with what I know how to do and had faith my defense would pick me up."

He certainly kept his defense involved, peppering the strike zone and changing speeds to keep the BC offense off balance.

Sanchez forced nine ground-ball outs and surrendered just four fly balls the entire game.

Atwater (11-10, 3-7 Central California Conference) wasn't exactly making good contact, either.

Ruiz held the Falcons to two hits and allowed runners to reach scoring position only twice.

The game was decided in the second inning with both teams having identical opportunities. Atwater did the better job of taking advantage of them.

Matt Parker singled to open the inning and Bear Vasquez followed with a walk. Tyler Zeller sacrificed both runners over and Sanchez helped his own cause with an RBI ground-out back up the middle.

Ruiz should have been out of the inning there, but a routine fly ball to center field was dropped, allowing the second run to score.

Buhach Colony's best chance to answer came in the bottom half of the inning.

Justin Prichard walked to open the inning and Kaden Verdin followed with a single. Shane Bell sacrificed the runners over to give the Thunder second and third with one down, but BC (13-9, 6-4 CCC) couldn't push anything across.

Tyson Coffey hit a soft line drive to second and Verdin was doubled off at second to end the inning.

"That's really the difference in the game right there," BC coach Greg Wakefield said. "They got the ground ball to score a run and we hand them another with the error.

"That second run proved big as the game went on."

The Thunder didn't get another runner in scoring position until the sixth inning when Daulton Jefferies walked and stole second with two outs.

Brandon Young gave Buhach some hope in the seventh when he led off with a triple.

Pinch hitter Anthony Gonzalez drove a fly ball to left, but not deep enough for Young to test Zeller's arm.

Sanchez picked Young off of third on the very next play, to all but end it.

"You look at Wednesday's game and they were able to score on a couple of our mental mistakes," Pimentel said. "A few days later, we take advantage of their miscues. It was basically the same outcome, just reversed.

"Sanchez did a nice job. He started out as a No. 2 or 3 for us and has really worked his way into the No. 1.

"There weren't a lot of good swings against him and our defense did a nice job behind him."

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