It is not too often a team gets an opportunity to get revenge in the same ball park days later.
Yet that is what the Taft varsity baseball team did Saturday evening when they roared to a 13-4 victory over the Independence Falcons to win the National Division of the Terrio Tournament at Sam Lynn Ball Park in Bakersfield.
“We made our adjustments early in the game,” said Taft coach Anthony Reed. “It projects us forward going into the league season.”
With the victory, Taft improves to 6-1 on the young season.
Taft had their chances to score early in the game starting with Steven Gee’s leadoff double in the top half of the first inning. Gee eventually advanced to third base on a wild pitch but was stranded after the last batter grounded out.
The Wildcats had another opportunity to score an inning later after Anthony Rodriguez reached first base on an excuse me swing single with one out. After a throwing error on a pickoff attempt got Rodriguez to second, Jeremy Harmer advanced Rodriguez to third on a ground out.
Like the previous inning, Taft came away empty handed following a ground out.
While Taft’s offense was trying to break through, Independence found a way in their half of the second inning. John Parviainen got the rally going with a leadoff walk before Joe Polinghorne sacrificed him over to second. Jordan Szolak answered with a single to left field to drive in Parviainen.
A half inning later, Taft opened the floodgates with six runs while sending 10 batters to the plate.
Danny Romo kicked off the rally with a single to left field and a steal of second. Taft would catch several breaks when the Falcons first baseman was pulled off the bag on a throw and the Falcons third baseman went after a runner who turned out to be safe.
Kyle Adkins would tie the score one batter later with a single to left field to load the bases again. Taft got another break when the shortstop’s throw to home on Jacob Lopez’s ground ball was thrown past the catcher allowing two runs to score. Zach Brown had the highlight of the inning with a two run double to left field.
After Rodriguez reached base on an infield single, Brown capped the outburst with a steal of home
Independence threatened to get one of the runs back in the bottom of the third with a hit batter and a walk, but Trenton Taylor got out of the jam by striking out the final batter.
Taft kept the floodgates open in the top of the fourth inning by scoring three runs highlighted by run scoring singles from Kevin Espinoza and Adkins along with Gee’s leadoff double.
Page 2 of 2 - The Wildcats capped their outburst in the top of the fifth inning with four runs thanks in part to Romo’s leadoff double and back-to-back run scoring doubles from Lopez and Brown.
Independence threatened to get back into the game in the bottom of the fifth inning thanks to Marco Montano’s one out walk and Chris Ransick’s two out double to score a run.
The Falcons made another attempt in the bottom of the sixth inning with Parviainen’s walk, two singles and a throwing error for two runs.
Along with winning the tournament, Zach Brown was named Most Valuable Player for position while Gee was named most valuable player for pitching.
Taft returns home Wednesday when they take on Frazier Mountain in a double header. The first game begins at 3:30 p.m.