FAIRFIELD — It was a frustrating afternoon for the Merced Volunteers as they squandered numerous scoring opportunities on their way to losing two games to open the Western Amateur Baseball Federation Tournament on Wednesday.
The Volunteers opened with a 7-5 loss to the Las Vegas Aces after leading 3-0.
Merced (6-15) then watched another 3-0 lead disappear in a 7-3 loss to the Petaluma Longhorns.
"Today we didn't have the mentality to just step up and put the game away," said Vols coach Joe Medeiros. "In the game of the baseball, when you don't put somebody away, it comes back to bite you."
The Volunteers found all kinds of ways not to score against the Longhorns.
Merced loaded the bases with no outs in the bottom of the third inning, but a line out, pop out and ground ball stranded all three runners.
Merced had runners on the corners with one out in the fourth, but Kyle Singer was thrown out at the plate trying to score on a passed ball and Longhorns starter Devon Graff struck out Justin Prichard to end the threat.
A caught stealing and a strikeout helped Graff get out of a fifth inning that started with back-to-back singles by Carlo Del Real and Josh May.
"It was a pretty bad day," said Volunteers second baseman Robbie Dallas, who doubled in two runs in the first game. "We played pretty good ball, we just couldn't find ways to score runs. That's been a problem all year. We get guys on and get them in scoring position with less than two outs, but we haven't found ways to score."
The bottom of the order came through for the Volunteers early against Petaluma.
Del Real doubled down the left-field line with one out. Mando Flores then deposited a blooper down the right-field line for an RBI double to give Merced a 1-0 lead.
Craig Bettis followed with a ball in almost the same spot for another RBI double and Dallas later singled in Bettis to give the Vols a 3-0 lead.
The Longhorns chipped away as Anthony Bender singled in a run in the top of the third to cut the lead to 3-1. R.J. Busse launched a solo homer in the fourth to pull the Longhorns within 3-2.
Petaluma erupted for five runs in the top of the sixth inning against Merced reliever Chad May.
Dom Daville delivered the big blow with a two-run single.
Merced outhit the Longhorns 13-11. Efrain Del Rio led the Volunteers with three hits. Del Real and Derek Slate had two hits.
The game was called after six innings because of the two-hour tournament time limit.
Merced could only score five runs against Las Vegas in the opener despite drawing 11 walks and two hit batters.
"Usually when you get that many free passes you get one or two hits that breaks it open and that didn't happen today," Medeiros said. "We didn't get that one or two hits."
Merced will return to Fairfield on Friday to play Fair Oaks and Oroville.