Hemet shows off its depth


SAN JACINTO Hemet High’s 6-5 baseball victory over San Jacinto on Friday seemed a little like a triumph made from odds and ends.

Scoring runs in a variety of ways and using most of its pitching staff, the Bulldogs built a big early lead and held on, maintaining their strong midseason run. Hemet (14-5, 5-2 Mountain Pass League) has won nine of its past 10 games.

“Definitely a team win,” Hemet coach Mike Arnold said. “We threw the staff at them. You never really plan to do that, but it’s good to have the depth.”

David Ackley, Steven Wright, Jerald Gaskin and Cameron Leonard all got work. Gaskin came in to get out of a bases-loaded situation in the fourth and worked 2 2/3 innings but was lifted for Leonard during San Jacinto’s two-run seventh inning.

After San Jacinto’s Francisco Blanco brought home a run with his fourth hit, Leonard struck out Devin Garcia to end it.

At the plate, Hemet didn’t overwhelm anyone, but the Bulldogs got what they needed. One run came in on a double play, another on a fielder’s choice and a third on an errant pickoff toss. Yeager Taylor got the Bulldogs’ biggest hit, delivering a two-out single up the middle to make it 5-2 in the fourth.

“That’s what you have to do,” Arnold said. “You have to take advantage of the opportunities you’re given.”

Hemet’s offense also was aided by San Jacinto’s defense. The Tigers committed four errors and a passed ball, leading to three unearned runs. One of the earned runs scored on a pop fly by Brian Woolford that fell between second baseman Blanco and right fielder Garrett Geboy.

“That’s pretty much the story of our season so far,” San Jacinto coach Rick Zepek said. “Defense has been a problem for us. They (Hemet) have a better defensive team than we do, and that’s why they won.”

It wasn’t for lack of trying on Blanco’s part. He started three innings with hits, including a pair of doubles, scored twice and drove in a run.

“We couldn’t get him out,” Arnold said. “Give all credit to him. He did that against three different pitchers.”

The Tigers (10-9, 2-5) have dropped out of playoff position.
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