Rain on Tuesday shifted games from Santa Maria to Paso Robles, and the schedule pushed the Paso Robles High School varsity baseball starting time past 8 p.m., hosting the Cathedral Phantoms of Los Angeles at Barnhart Field at PRHS.
A string of Bearcats’ errors in the fifth inning led to three scores for the Phantoms, who snagged a 3-1 victory over Paso Robles in the first game of the Righetti Spring Classic.
The first two and a half innings went quickly, with little production from either team.
In the bottom of the third, the Bearcats broke the initial tie with two plays.
The first was a hammered triple by PRHS senior Mark Armstrong, which put him staring down the third base line toward home plate when junior Dylan Lewis came to bat.
Facing two outs, Lewis singled to first, beating the throw, and Armstrong ran home to score.
Starting PRHS pitcher junior Brad Tews remained on the mound, and PRHS held onto the lead through the fourth inning.
The Bearcats could not add to the lead in the bottom of the fourth, leaving the door open for the Phantoms to contest for the win.
Tews struck out the first Phantom batter swinging, but then the Phantoms’ bats got hot and the Bearcats’ fielding fell to pieces behind Tews.
It all started with a single line-drive to left field, putting the Phantoms’ runner on base. Another single and a hit-by-pitch, and the Phantoms loaded the bases.
A pickoff throw by Tews at first base was dropped, which opened the door for the Cathedral runner to score from third before the throw made it to the catcher. PRHS catcher Bobby Ybarra threw to third base to catch the advancing runner, but the ball was not caught and the runner was safe.
With runners on second and third, with only one out on the board, the pressure was on Tews to get the Bearcats out of the inning. But the Phantoms continued to connect, and the next batter knocked one over the leaping second baseman Oscar Rendon and into outfield.
The runner from third scored before Lewis fielded the ball in center field. Lewis threw home in an attempt to prevent the third score.
Ybarra caught the ball with the runner coming in full steam, and the runner bowled over Ybarra, knocking the ball out of his glove and tagging home plate. The umpire ruled the play a score for the Phantoms and the Bearcats fell behind 3-1.
In the bottom of the fifth, Paso Robles put two on base with only one out, but the Phantoms closed the inning, leaving them stranded.
Sophomore pitcher Lucas Climer entered the game for Paso Robles, and he allowed a hit to the first batter, but struck out the final two batters to leave the runner on second.
Heading into the seventh inning, Climer pitched the three batters into ground outs. The Bearcats had three outs to save their game at around the 10 p.m.
Between two outs, the Bearcats loaded the bases with senior Seth Matthysse and Lewis hitting singles, and junior Will Stroud walking.
With two outs, and the tying runner at second, freshman Hunter Barnhart popped out to first base to deliver the win to the Phantoms.
Lewis hit 2 for 4 with one RBI, and Armstrong hit 1 of 3 with the Bearcats’ single run.
In the second game of the tournament, against Buhach Colony, the Bearcats redeemed themselves with a 12-2 win.
Paso Robles jumped out to a 9-1 lead after three innings, and tacked on three more in the bottom of the fifth to end the game short.
Lewis and Armstrong led the hitters again, with Lewis going 3 of 4 with one run and two RBI, and Armstrong hitting 2 for 3 with two RBI and two runs.
The Bearcats were scheduled for a 4 p.m. game against Eastern High School from Voorhees, New Jersey. Results were unavailable at press time.
The Bearcats (11-1 PAC 8) return to league play where they sit tied at the top with Righetti. They meet with Mission Prep on Tuesday, April 25 for three games, then face off with Righetti for three games beginning on Tuesday, May 2.