Canyon’s offense had chances aplenty Wednesday afternoon against Lancaster.
On two separate occasions, the Cowboys moved runners to second and third with nobody out.
But sloppy defense resulted in a three-run fourth inning for Lancaster and the Cowboys didn’t quite rise to the occasion with runners in scoring position, falling 3-2 to at Canyon in preleague play.
“We made a couple errors in that inning, gave them three runs, and that was pretty much it,” said Canyon coach Drew Peterson. “ … We have to be better and clutch up in those situations with guys on base.”
Canyon starter Jace Root got out of the first unscathed despite Lancaster getting runners to second and third with one out. Root got Lancaster cleanup hitter Nathan Duarte to strike out looking and Alex Amaya to pop out to second to end the frame.
Root wasn’t quite as lucky in the fourth.
MORE: Prep baseball roundup: West Ranch slips up on defense in loss to Birmingham
Nate Brockbank drove in the first run of the day with a single and James Banales followed with a single that evaded the left fielder and rolled all the way to the wall, as two more runs came across. Root struck out four and allowed four hits (all singles) while walking one through four innings.
Canyon had just two singles leading into the sixth but nearly tied the score that inning.
Noah Blythe led off with a double and Charles Harrison looked to have extra bases of his own following a line drive to center field. But his liner was corralled with a running grab toward the wall.
“That was a great play,” Peterson said. “We needed more contact like that, though. It seemed like we had a ton of lazy fly balls to center today.”
Cebastian Arriaga drove in Blythe with a single, which chased Lancaster starter Jeremy Holiday. Harold Boyce followed Arriaga with a walk and both advanced into scoring position on a passed ball. Another passed ball allowed Arriaga to score and make it a one-run game.
But Lancaster reliever Dylan Halberstadt struck out the next two hitters to end the inning, stranding the tying run in Boyce on third. The Cowboys went down in order in the seventh.
“(Holiday) wasn’t throwing anything that nasty,” said senior shortstop C.J. Dowell, who went 1-for-4 with a single. “We just couldn’t capitalize with runners on base.”
Harrison, who also came on in relief for the final three innings, walked to lead off the fourth and Arriaga was then hit by a pitch before both moved into scoring position on a passed ball. But Holiday got two pop ups and a grounder to close out the innings scoreless.
Both Peterson and Dowell pointed to base running as another area of concern from the loss. Conrad Meza singled in the third for the team’s first hit of the game but was picked off by Holiday. Dowell directly followed Meza with his single.
The Cowboys also failed to advance a runner from second to third after a dropped third strike rolled to the backstop in the second inning.
“Those errors really put us down in those innings,” Dowell said. “That’s something we really need to work on.”