For the second time in a week the Bobcats found themselves in a tense struggle with crosstown North. And much like at last week’s Mission Tournament game, they were able to pull their baseball fat out of the fire at the last minute.
Behind 1-0 in the fifth Thursday to a scrappy North bunch, EHS rallied, as imposing catcher Aldo Zamora hammered a long one to the wall in center field, putting runners at second and third. Then Nick Escobar slammed a liner to center, and though Coog Joel de los Santos made a super diving catch, the play went for a sacrifice fly to knot the affair.
In anticlimactic fashion, a wild pitch from Fernie Contreras allowed what would be the game-winner; the way senior Andrew Arteaga was hurling for EHS, that’s all it took.
The 2-1 home triumph made the Bobcats 3-0 in 31-5A play, 14-4 overall and the No. 2 ‘Cats got a tremendous pitching effort from the husky Arteaga, who scattered three hits and fanned seven in a complete game win. With a nice fastball he was able to keep low for the most part and a tricky curveball, Arteaga kept the Coogs at bay after they had scratched for a run in the second. After giving up singles to Contreras and Michael Garcia, Arteaga retired 14 of the last 15 hitters to coast to the victory.
He also singled to start the rally in the fifth, scoring the tying run before courtesy runner Brandon Perez steamed home from third on the wild pitch. Arteaga noted that his team started slowly, wasting several decent scoring opportunities in the early frames.
“It’s always a competitive game against a crosstown rival,” said the right-hander, who had pitched five shutout innings against state power Carroll last week and had two of the team’s seven hits Thursday. “We did just enough to get the win today.”
Contreras worked a very competent seven innings for North (1-2, 4-12), and made the pitches when he had to, keeping EHS scoreless until the telltale fifth. Outside of Garcia’s RBI single in the second, however, there wasn’t much doing versus Arteaga, who got stronger as the night went on and used the offspeed stuff well.
Joel Lopez singled in the fifth to lead off but Zamora rang him up at first with a bullet throw that caught him leaning the other way. Zamora, hitting over .500 this year as is Arteaga, has become one of the Valley’s best all-around players these days.
The Cougars, despite their record, have to be feeling good about a pair of 1-run games against the highly touted Bobcats; last week in Mission it was 5-4 EHS with North leading much of the way before a late comeback.
EHS on the other hand was perhaps somewhat lucky to pull through, considering the number of gaffes it committed Thursday. Joe Munoz was caught in a rundown and tagged out to stifle a potential rally in the second and the ‘Cats missed on a number of clutch-hitting situations before putting two on the board late.
Arteaga ended the affair with three nasty curves in a row to retire Contreras looking in the top of the seventh.
NOTES: Read all about Monday’s North softball win over EHS on the Review website and check out all the pictures from the ball game.