The Lassen Community College baseball team played a pair of hard-fought games at the Butte College diamond Monday, March 5.
The first game of the doubleheader was a harsh loss for the Cougars with a final score of 12-2 in favor of the Butte Roadrunners.
Head coach Frank Avilla commented, “Anytime you play Butte College in Chico, it’s a very unforgiving ballpark and we didn’t play well enough for our mistakes to not be forgiven.”
Butte made their first four runs during the second inning, all unearned.
Lassen tried to recover during the top of the third, but the Cougars only managed one run.
Mitchell Menns initially walked to start the inning. Sami Baig then doubled to right field to send Menns to third, and Ryan Thomasy stepped up to the plate for a sacrifice fly that brought Menns in and sent Baig to third before a third out was called and the Cougars took the field.
During the bottom of the fourth inning, the Roadrunners hit a couple home runs to bring in a total of three runners and thus bring their lead to 7-1.
Inning six saw the second run scored by Lassen, but Butte responded with three runs during the bottom of the inning to dismiss any Cougar success.
While in the sixth inning, Eric Carlson doubled down the right field line to secure a grand start. He then advanced to third base on a wild pitch, and with a strong single up the middle from Luke Smith, Carlson scored to bring the Cougar run count to two.
Another homerun from the Roadrunners brought in two runs during the bottom of the sixth, and a walk with the bases loaded sent in a third.
Lassen finished their contribution at two runs, but Butte wasn’t quite finished yet.
The Roadrunners hit a homer in the bottom of the seventh to add another run to their score and finally finished off the game with a final run scored in the eighth inning on a balk.
Pitching for the Cougars in game one was Jordan Taylor with 3.1 innings on the mound, Tristan Hager with two full innings, Thomas Stevens pitching for 1.2 innings and Michael Wood for .2 innings.
In total, the four pitchers struck out four Roadrunners, gave up 13 hits, 12 runs and nine walks.
“It took a minute to make an adjustment after being off the field for a week due to the snow. That was the first time we had been on a field in a week, so we needed to brush up,” said Avilla.
The final score of the first game was 12-2, Butte, but Lassen was able to effectively wipe the slate clean come time for game two to begin.
The Cougars definitely turned the tables in the second game as the final score read 13-7 in Cougar favor.
Avilla said, “We have a resilient group and a strong sophomore class. We turned around and made Butte pay for their mistakes in the second game.”
Lassen started out strong with a pair of runs scored in the first inning.
Thomasy singled up the middle to be the first Cougar on base, and with a double from Taylor to follow, Thomasy didn’t hesitate to sprint back to home for the first run recorded of the game.
Carlson was next at bat and sent Taylor to third with a single to shortstop.
Taylor then scored and Carlson advanced to second on a balk, thus bringing the Cougars to a 2-0 lead before the Roadrunners had their first shot at the ball.
While in the bottom of the first inning, Butte scored one run, unearned.
The intensity continued into the second inning with Jarryn Wee singling to center field to start.
Wee then advanced to second as Menns walked, and once Jordan Dicus was hit by the pitch, the bases were loaded.
Baig reached on a fielder’s choice to pitcher, and while Menns advanced to third and Dicus advanced to second, Wee ran home and scored thanks to a throwing error by the pitcher.
Once again, the bases were loaded. This time, Thomasy stood at bat with full intention to bring the Cougars in. However, the pitcher proved too anxious on the field and hit Thomasy to advance each Cougar by one base and send Menns home.
Next, Taylor hit a sacrifice fly that turned into a double play from center field to second base. Dicus scored, but both Taylor and Baig were out on the play.
Carlson then singled to left field and allowed Thomasy to advance to second base, but the inning was soon over with the Cougars again in the lead; this time with 5-1 on the board.
The Roadrunners stepped up to the plate eager to tie things up at 5-5, however.
With a home run and a double later on, Butte brought their run tally up to four for the game. Though they didn’t tie as planned, the Roadrunners still showed determination.
Unfortunately for the Butte players, Lassen would already be leaps and bounds ahead by the time the Roadrunners earned their fifth point.
Lassen nearly doubled their score in the top of the fourth inning.
Baig singled to the pitcher via bunt to start things off, but Thomasy was next on the plate. Thomasy reached on fielder’s choice to shortstop and thus sent Baig out.
Thomasy made up for lost time by stealing second, and after Jordan Taylor walked, Thomasy printed home thanks to a double from Carlson.
Smith was hit by the pitch and loaded the bases.
Then, Lincoln Turner singled through the left side and ultimately brought both Taylor and Carlson in.
Wee was back up to the plate with Smith on second base and Turner on first, and with a single down the right field line, Smith scored to bring the Cougar run count to nine thus far.
Butte managed to get one runner in during the bottom of the fourth inning, but it wasn’t enough to steal the lead.
During the top of the fifth inning, Baig was first to hit and ultimately singled to third base with a bunt before stealing second.
Thomasy followed with a single to third as well, and Baig advanced to third.
Thomasy then stole second.
Taylor walked to officially load the bases, and with Carlson hit by the pitch to follow, Baig ran in.
The Roadrunners finally managed to reply to the 10-5 Lassen lead during the bottom of the eighth inning with two runs, but they apparently called it a game after raising their run count to seven.
Lassen, on the other hand, still had a pinch of aggression to work out.
In the ninth inning, Baig hit a home run and definitely caused some sighs of agony from loyal Butte fans.
Thomasy followed by doubling down the third base line. Taylor then hit a single through the right side, advanced to second base on the throw and was ultimately credited with the RBI as Thomasy scored.
As if that wasn’t wild enough, Taylor then advanced to third base on a wild pitch and scored on a throwing error by the catcher, thus bringing the score to 13-7 and declaring an overwhelming recovery win for the Cougars.
On the mound for the second game was Connor Fleharty for five innings, Jack Bell for 1.2 innings, Coldin Shopp for 1.1 innings and Jared Kiessling for one inning.
Fleharty struck out four of 26 Roadrunners faced, Shopp struck out two of six and both Bell and Kiessling struck out one batter.
In total, the Cougar pitchers gave up eight hits, seven runs and eight walks.