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Chowchilla rocks Merced: Espinola finishes double shy of cycle in win

Kyle Espinola couldn't help but think about the cycle as he stepped up to the plate for the final time.

The Chowchilla senior's bid for one of baseball's rare feats came up short as Merced shortstop Tynan Pedretti chased down a flyball.

That was about the only thing that didn't go right for Espinola and Chowchilla.

The small-school power crushed Merced 10-4 on Wednesday night at Merced High.

"We were fired up for this game," said Espinola, who finished a double short of the cycle. "

"Being a small school, we were really looking forward to playing Merced."

Espinola set the tone from the start when he led off the game with a home run over the left-field fence.

Chowchilla (8-3) never slowed down as Espinola and company banged out 10 hits against five Merced pitchers.

"Kyle has been swinging the bat really well," Chowchilla coach Kirk Delmas said. "He got a pitch in the middle of the plate and turned on it.

"What I like is we didn't sit on it. We came back and scored another run in the first and then we had three or four innings where we put up some crooked numbers."

Michael York went 2 for 3 and drove in three runs for Chowchilla.

Tyler Cook pitched well despite giving up home runs to Merced's Matthew Farias and Pedretti.

The only drama late in the game was whether Espinola could get that elusive double.

"I was aware I needed the double," Espinola said. "That's probably why I flew out. I was pressing."

Things weren't as fun in the Merced dugout as Lou Souza watched his team fall to 3-9 on the season.

Souza felt his pitchers could learn a lot by watching how Cook handled himself on the mound.

"People watching (Cook) from the stands could see how he gets after it," Souza said. "If you look at our guys, we're just a roller coaster of emotions.

"You have to have that poker face."

Souza didn't just pin Merced's struggles on his pitchers.

"We need to start wanting to win," Souza said. "I don't sense that. We don't play like we want to win.

"I'll tell you we're not the most talented team in the area. We have to want to win more than the other team and I don't see it.

"That's a major concern."

At Merced

Chowchilla 203 230 0 -- 10 10 1

Merced 010 300 0 -- 4 5 2

Tyler Cook, Thomas Flanagan (6) and Kyle Espinola; Mike Nelson, Cyle Bettis (3), Alex Alvira (5), Garrett Boothe (7) and Chad May. WP -- Cook. LP - Nelson.

CHOWCHILLA -- Espinola 3-5 (3B, HR, 3 Runs, 2 RBI), Michael York 2-3 (2B, 3 RBI), Kyle Kinsley 2-3 (RBI).

MERCED -- Aaron Yescas (3B), Tynan Pedretti (HR, 3 RBI), Matthew Farias (HR), Burch (2B).

Records: Chowchilla 8-3; Merced 3-9.