A day after residents set off fireworks to celebrate the Fourth of July, the Taft 11-12 year olds all-star team was looking to do the same with their offense.
Instead, Taft experienced a mixed bag of emotions after going 1-2 in the District 61 all-star tournament in Arvin this past weekend.
Unlike the fireworks, Taft’s offense tiptoed quietly through the first game after falling to host Arvin 8-1.
“We played pretty well overall,” said Taft coach Rich Johnson. “We weren’t aggressive on the bats like we normally are.”
The game started off as a pitcher’s duel between Taft’s Blake Johnson and Arvin’s Adam Garcia with both combining for 10 strikeouts during the first two innings of the game.
Arvin’s bats came alive in the top of the third inning when Jose Bautista and Angel Borreli started the rally with one out back-to-back singles. Borreli went on to score the second run of the inning on a wild pitch.
The team had a chance to add on to their lead when they loaded the bases on three straight walks, but the next batter struck out.
Arvin struck again in the fourth thanks to a leadoff single from Gabriel Prieto, a two base throwing error and Garcia’s single.
Like the previous inning Arvin had a chance to add on to their lead but Taft first baseman Maino Maino made a catch and a diving tag at first base to complete the double play.
Taft fed off that momentum in their half of the fourth inning when Maino led off with a single. After advancing two bases on a pair of throwing errors, Maino scored on Abel Urias’ single to left field.
Arvin had a golden opportunity to score again in the fifth with runners on second and third and two outs but they were unable to get that run in.
An inning later, Arvin blew open the floodgates by scoring five runs while sending 11 batters to the plate. In that period of time, Arvin only had three hits all coming on singles.
Taft attempted to get back into the game in the bottom of the sixth inning.
With one out, Johnson was hit by a pitch while Maino walked with two outs. Urias followed with a single to load the bases but the next batter struck out to end the game.
Taft found their offense a day later in the loser’s bracket when they handed Buttonwillow a 30-11 loss.
In the game, Urias had two home runs while Maino had one. Rubright had a triple while Blake Johnson had a double.
Page 2 of 2 - “It was a good win,” said Johnson. “That’s how we should play.”
On Sunday, Taft’s run came to an end with a 16-5 loss to Delano.
Johnson was 2-for-3 in the game with a double and single. Urias chipped in with a home run.
“Overall we played pretty good,” said Johnson. Overall, we had a good team.”