It seemed only fitting that the second game of Tuesday night’s doubleheader between the Merced Volunteers and the Valley Bears would end prematurely when the sprinklers came on at Merced College.
The waterworks put an end to a bizarre game that saw the ejections of one Volunteers coach, one Bears player and four fans by a single umpire.
The game ended with Merced leading 8-4 to give the Volunteers a split after dropping the first game 12-7.
“After the game I told our team that’s not what we’re about and that’s not what I’m about,” said Merced coach Rollo Adams. “The parents, they’ve got a right to express themselves, but they need to understand it can hurt us down the road. Some of it was disappointing. We’re out there for the kids and we have parents arguing with umpires and that type of thing. That isn’t fun to be associated with.”
The first issue came up in the fourth inning of the second game, with the Volunteers (21-9) ahead 5-2.
With a runner on first, Merced’s Josh May tried to signal for a timeout before a pitch, but it wasn’t granted by the umpire. Valley pitcher Luke Tessman was called for a balk when he stopped his motion to the plate.
Tessman then drilled May in the back with the next pitch, and Merced third base coach Joe Medeiros came down the line and exchanged words with the pitcher. Both teams were issued a warning.
In the sixth inning things got crazy after the home-plate umpire took a foul ball off the arm. A Valley coach standing near the Merced dugout said something that caught the attention of the field umpire, who began yelling toward the dugout.
Then fans began arguing with the field umpire and that led to a couple of fans being ejected from the ballpark. Medeiros was also eventually tossed for arguing.
After a 10-minute delay, the game resumed with Valley’s Aaron Simms hitting a two-run home run over the left-field fence off of Merced starter Kaden Verdin to pull the Bears within 5-4.
The game was also delayed in the eighth as the field umpire ejected another fan down the right field line and a Valley player.
The Volunteers were able to put the game away with three runs. Carlo Del Real continued his torrid hitting with a two-run double. Efrain Del Rio then drove him in with a triple.
Del Real came on in relief after Simms’ home run to record the final seven outs for the save.
“It was a close game before things kind of escalated out of control,” Del Real said. “Both teams played good baseball. Things got crazy. There was a lot of weird things going on, but once you’re on the field and the game gets going it’s not hard to stay focused and get back into the game.”
The Volunteers opened up a 5-0 lead early in the game with the help of a four-run second inning. A misplayed flyball off the bat of Darin Dupont opened the door in the inning. Confusion in the outfield allowed Dupont’s ball to drop in for an RBI double. May, Lawrence Anderson and Del Real all followed with RBIs to extend the lead to 5-0.
In the first game, the Bears broke a 7-7 tie with five runs in the final two innings to win. Justin Flores and Mike Flores each hit home runs for Valley, a team comprised of Fresno-area collegiate players
Del Real had three hits and May recorded two hits and two runs.
The Volunteers will host the Bears again Monday at Merced College at 6 p.m.
Sun-Star staff writer Shawn Jansen can be reached at (209) 385-2462 or firstname.lastname@example.org.