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Bullpen struggles again in loss for Yuba City
Eden's gem wasted for second time
It was like deja vu all over again for the Yuba City High baseball team on Friday night.
Ace Chandler Eden was cruising along, the Honkers held a 3-0 lead in the top of the sixth inning and were a mere four outs away from picking up a big win over Division-I power Davis, the No. 10 ranked team in Northern California, according to MaxPreps.
But just like in the season opener against Woodcreek on Feb. 27, the Honkers' bullpen couldn't finish the job.
Once Eden left after 52⁄3 dominant innings, the Blue Devils' bats came to life and rallied back to score five runs over the final two frames to hand the Honkers a frustrating 5-3 loss at Winship Field.
It was a near carbon copy of Yuba City's 4-2 loss to Woodcreek. In that game, Eden allowed one hit, struck out 10 and left with a 2-0 lead after five innings, only to see a potential win go out the window when the bullpen couldn't hold on.
"Davis is traditionally one of the best teams in the section. They don't make too many mistakes and they made the plays, and that's something we haven't been doing," said Yuba City coach Dave Rodriguez. "The guys are finding their roles right now, they just have to perform or we'll find someone who will."
Eden certainly did his part though.
With a half-dozen Major League scouts manning radar guns in the stands, Eden turned in another sensational performance by striking out 13, walking two and allowing just two hits.
He left the game with two down in the sixth after walking a batter on his 92nd and final pitch.
"We're just really lucky to have him on our team," Rodriguez said. "I feel bad we've blown two wins for him, but he remains upbeat. He actually looked better tonight than he did last time."
Yuba City (2-2) took a 1-0 lead in the second on an RBI single back up the middle by junior Devin Pettengill and rallied for two more in the fourth courtesy of a two-out, two-run double by Cooper Goldby.
Goldby's clutch hit ended the night for Davis starter Bobby Young, who turned in a strong performance himself by striking out nine over 32⁄3 innings.
Strikeouts were a problem all night for the Honkers as they fanned 12 times, eight looking.
Still, Yuba City held a three-run lead with four outs to go before an RBI double by Young and a two-run single by Ryan Kreidler allowed the Blue Devils (3-0) to knot things up in the sixth.
Davis then put runners on second and third with two outs in the seventh when Chris Daunt hit a blooper in to shallow center field. Pettengill raced out from his shortstop position and made a diving attempt on the ball, but came up just short, allowing the Blue Devils to race home for the deciding runs.
"What an effort. He practices how he plays, and he plays hard," Rodriguez said of Pettengill, who went 2 for 2 with an RBI and a run scored at the plate. "It looked like a change-up off the bat. He took a big swing and it just kind of floated out there."
And just like against Woodcreek, the Honkers worked the bases loaded with one out in the bottom of the seventh, but a pair of groundouts ended their bid for a comeback.
Goldby finished 2 for 4 with a pair of doubles and two RBIs, senior first baseman Justin Noreen was 3 for 4 with a double and Matt Miller singled to lead the offensive charge for Yuba City.
"We just need to start hitting better and everything will come together," Noreen said. "It's a crappy feeling. Chandler has thrown two great games, and to have no win to show for it is sad."
The Honkers will look to bounce back when they host El Camino (1-3) tonight at 7.