Eagles rally late in game for win at SLO tourney

© 2017-Paso Robles Press

SAN LUIS OBISPO — Wednesday was the perfect day for baseball. The Templeton Eagles had a start time of 11:30 a.m. when they played their first game of the San Luis Obispo Tournament against Golden Valley. The game took place on the top field at San Luis Obispo High School, a field with views so beautiful it makes it difficult to pay attention to the games being played.

Wednesday’s game had everything that a baseball fan could want: competitive play, a towering home run, and a roaring comeback late in the game. The Eagles started off sloppy and didn’t seem focused. They committed several errors in the first two innings, essentially spotting Golden Valley five points.

“We are a very solid defensive team, and in that first inning we had a bunch of uncharacteristic errors,” head coach Pete Kotheimer said. “I think we had something like six errors from key guys in the first two innings. That’s not like us, that’s usually as many errors as we make in four games.”

The uninspired play continued into the start of the third inning, but quickly disappeared. Ryan Lebens led off the inning for the Eagled and grounded out. With the score 5-1, and the crowd quiet, Junior Jared Briltz stepped into the box. After seeing a couple pitches, Briltz saw a fastball he liked and sent it into orbit. Everyone knew it was gone the second they heard the ping off the metal bat. His solo shot went over the fence in left center leaving the left fielder with nothing to do but put his hands on his head and watch.

Now that the energy was back, all the Eagles needed was more runs. It looked like Templeton would close the gap in the fifth inning after an RBI single by Adrian Flanagan.  The score was now 7-3, and after a walk the bases were loaded. However, the inning ended in a bizarre fashion, eventually leading to a pickle on the third base path and the eventual third out of the inning.   

“After the first inning disaster, we just wanted to stress good at-bats and slowly chipping away at the lead,”  Kotheimer said. “I told them that we had our bad inning and now that it is out of the way we can go play good baseball.”

In the sixth inning the Eagles scored eight runs and forced Golden Valley to use three different pitchers. The Eagles offense was incredibly patient and let Golden Valley make mistakes. In the top of the sixth inning alone the Eagles drew six walks. Junior Tyler Frigon was able to have two at-bats in the inning and tallied an RBI with each. In his first appearance, he hit a ground ball right up the middle between the shortstop and second basemen, and in his second appearance hit a beautiful sacrifice fly to left field. Templeton won the game 13-7.

The Eagles currently have a record of 14-7 and sit in second place in league behind Santa Ynez. The Templeton Boys Baseball team will play its final game of the tournament today at 11:30 a.m. at San Luis Obispo High School.

© 2017-Paso Robles Press

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