Lincoln holds onto first with 6-5 win over Foothill

Bats explode for five runs in fourth
By: Jim Linsdau News Messenger Sports Editor
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The Lincoln High baseball team opened with a triple in the fourth inning as the Fighting Zebras unloaded on Foothill?s Mustangs for five runs and then hung on for a 6-5 victory, Thursday. Starting pitcher Jake Sola surrendered a run in the top half of the first inning but kept the lid on Foothill until the sixth inning when fatigue caught up to him. The Mustangs added three more runs in that inning but their rally fell short. ?I was probably getting tired, a little fatigued,? Sola said of his situation in the sixth. ?(Foothill) started to get around on my fastball. I left the ball up, all a matter of getting tired.? The Zebras? closer Jake Gomez came on in relief. Gomez helped get Lincoln out of a jam in that inning, but his control was shaky. In the seventh inning, Gomez gave up a base on balls, a double and hit a batter to allow Foothill to get within one. Lincoln head coach Troy Peterson decided to send Joey Valdez to the hill with two outs and two men in scoring position and it proved to be the right decision. ?(Gomez) didn?t have it today but that?s the way it goes,? Peterson said of his game saver. ?He had it the other day closing out a game just fine but today, he didn?t have it.? Valdez came off the bench after a bit of a layoff. Valdez had hurt his elbow and was still in the process of working his way back into the lineup. Valdez got the first man he faced to fly out to short. Next up was the Mustang?s Brian Litz, a long-ball hitter batting .293 with 17 runs batted in this season. With first base open, Peterson chose to give Litz an intentional walk. The next batter then hit a ground ball to first baseman Trent Parks, who made the final out unassisted. Parks was also instrumental in inning four?s five-run rally. He followed Isaiah Garcia?s triple with a home run blast to right-center field. ?I?ve been working on opening up my hips and extending my arms. I finally did it,? said the rangy senior as to the adjustment he made at the plate to collect his first career home run. ?I think we?ve all been hitting the ball consistently during the year. It?s just at times they start dropping,? he added. Sola then doubled, Ethan Liddle drew a walk and Jordan Albarron brought them both in with a single. Albarron stretched his base hit to second base as the Mustangs tired making a play at the plate. Albarron then came home on a sacrifice fly by Julio Martinez. The Zebras? first run came in inning one when lead-off batter Kody Kencke scored. After being hit by a pitch, Kencke worked his way over to third on two steals. Garcia brought him home on a fielder?s choice. Peterson said his club has been hitting the ball hard but right at opposing players. He said, eventually, the hits start finding their way into the gaps (or out of the park) as they did in the fourth inning. No better time for that to happen than in the next four games. As it now stands in the Pioneer Valley League, Placer is a half game behind Lincoln in the loss column. Colfax is a full game back. The Zebras were scheduled to host the Hillmen Tuesday and travel to Auburn for a second game Thursday. They close out the regular season next week with back-to-back games against Colfax; the final being at home May 10. Lincoln 6, Foothill 5 R H E Mustangs 1 0 0 0 0 3 1 ? 5 11 0 Zebras 1 0 0 5 0 0 - ? 6 5 1 Foothill ab r h bi Woods p 4 2 3 1 MacDonald cf 5 1 1 1 Litz 1b 3 0 3 0 Hamblen rf 2 0 2 0 Craver 3b 4 0 0 0 Winter c 4 0 0 0 Knuth lf 3 1 0 0 Nelson dh 1 1 1 0 Aguirre 2b 2 0 1 0 Totals 28 5 11 2 2B ? Woods (2), MacDonald (1), Aguirre (1); LOB ? 13 LP ? Woods, IP 3 1/3, 1K; RP ? Litz, 2 2/3, 5K Lincoln ab r h bi Kencke 2b 2 1 0 1 Garcia ss 2 1 1 1 Parks 1b 3 1 1 2 Sola p 3 1 1 0 Liddle lf 3 1 1 0 Albarron cf 3 1 1 2 Pallas 3b 3 0 0 0 Martinez dh 1 0 0 1 Gomez rf 2 0 0 0 Totals 22 6 4 6 2B ? Sola (1); 3B ? Garcia (1); HR ? Parks (1); LOB - 3 WP ? Sola, IP 5 1/3, 8K; RP ? Gomez, IP 1, 2K; SV ? Valdez, IP 2/3