The Canyon Cowboys (1-1-1) fell just short against the Buena Bulldogs (1-1-1) in a strong pitching battle.
The two teams also went to extra innings in their game earlier this week but the game was called in the eighth and the two tied.
However, after 10 innings of even play on Saturday, Buena senior Nathan Silva registered his first hit of the game and knocked in the eventual game-winning run. Silva, the winning pitcher, was 0-3 with a walk and two strikeouts before the play of the game.
Both starting pitchers played great on each side as both registered a hit while tallying several strikeouts on the mound.
Canyon senior Josh Critchfield started for the Cowboys. Critchfield had some wild pitches one could blame on the wind but Buena was quick to capitalize. Buena scored their first run while outfielder Kyle Banks was being chased down between second and third, then scored in the next inning on consecutive wild pitches getting past catcher Dustin Aleck.
“My personal goal is to stay on top and be one of the dominant pitchers in the Foothill League,” said Critchfield. “
Critchfield finished after five innings, striking out six and allowing the two runs.
“Josh works hard and leads this team out here,” said Canyon head coach Jeremy Leonardo. “He does a good job and sets the tone on the mound.”
Buena’s Tanner Beltowski led the game with eight strikeouts in seven innings.
Canyon right fielder Jacob Mourthi smacked a ball to deep right, bringing in two runs to tie the game in the fourth. The Cowboys would then get the lead from sophomore Tsukasa Ozaki in the fifth inning after a single, steal and advance got him in position to score on a sacrifice fielder’s choice.
After the sophomore scored, he appeared to exchange some words with the visiting catcher, causing the Canyon bench to clear. The situation was quickly defused by the umpires but there was plenty of chatter and chippiness between the two teams from there on.
Ozaki finished 2-3 with a strikeout and walk.
The Bulldogs managed to tie in crunch time, getting a run in the top of seventh. Silva was then moved to the hill in extra innings, where he allowed one hit and fanned two through three innings.
Canyon is coming off a fifth-place finish in the Foothill League last season. Leonardo aims to get this team back into postseason baseball and look for their first playoff win in nearly a decade.
“More than anything, our goal is to be playing baseball in May,” said Leonardo. “We definitely have some team goals and objectives we want to accomplish but more than anything our motto is, ‘Take everything a pitch at a time.’”
Canyon is scheduled to host Knight in a non-league matchup Wednesday at 3 p.m.
“We’re a really solid team,” said Critchfield. “We’re going to do really well this season. We’ve played tougher teams and come out on top.”
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