Baseball: Piner storms to win over Richmond

CRISTA JEREMIASON / The Press Democrat) Piner's Kyle Wiggins catches a pop-up during Friday's home game against Richmond.

CRISTA JEREMIASON / The Press Democrat)
Piner’s Kyle Wiggins catches a pop-up during Friday’s home game against Richmond.

By RICHARD J. MARCUS
FOR THE PRESS DEMOCRAT

So far so good for Piner High’s baseball team, which improved to 3-0 after a 12-1 victory against visiting Richmond on Friday afternoon.

Piner (3-0) has outscored its opponents 33-5 in three games. The Prospectors defeated Terra Linda (San Rafael) 7-4 and Cloverdale 14-0 in previous home games.

Things were not in sync for Richmond (0-1), whose team bus was stuck in traffic coming from the East Bay, delaying the start of the game by 30 minutes. It was the Oilers first game of the season.

The Oilers went down in order against right-handed Piner starter Ben Stolte (2-0). The Prospectors took charge in the bottom of the first inning on five Richmond errors leading to six unearned runs for Piner.

In the inning, Richmond made errors at second and third bases on errant throws and added three errors in right field on dropped fly balls. The only Piner hit in the inning was a bunt down the first base line by Stolte.

With a 6-0 lead to work with, Stolte cruised through the third inning without allowing a base-runner.

“My fastball was working pretty well. I was able to locate it,” Stolte said. “My off-speed stuff was a little shaky but it is early in the season and I have time to work on it.”

Piner tacked on a run in the second inning and three more in the third to take a 10-0 lead. In the third inning, Stolte had an RBI-single and Domenic Grillo smashed an opposite-field double to right to plate Stolte and Daniel Ito-Lutz.

The only suspense left in the game was whether the Oilers would get a hit off Stolte, which they did in the fourth inning on a bad-bounce single by Juaquin Jacinto. The single erased the Piner shutout by scoring Deshaun Clark, who walked, stole second and advanced to third on a wild pitch.

“Stolte had a good day,” first-year Piner manager Nick Green said. “He was hitting his spots.”

Stolte went four innings and gave up one hit, two walks and one earned run while striking out seven.

Richmond’s left-handed starting pitcher, Armond Gomez (L, 0-1) was chased after three innings.

Piner’s Niko Formosa led off the fourth with a single and went to second on a balk. One out later with Formosa on third and Stolte on second base courtesy of a Oilers error, Grant Wingett laced a two-RBI single into the outfield for an 11-run Piner lead that resulted in the umpires calling the game via the 10-run rule.

Despite the lopsided score, Green said he was not happy with how his team played.

“It was one of those days,” Green said. “It wasn’t a game I’d want on camera.”

In relative comparison, however, it was Richmond that truly had the miserable game, giving up seven unearned runs and committing seven errors and only registering one hit.

“We are a young and very inexperienced team,” Richmond manager Deryk Hudson said. “What I like about Piner is that they play the game the right way and they were very respectful and good hosts. They weren’t boastful and they didn’t run up the score.”

Piner, which committed only one defensive error, finished with 12 runs on nine hits.

“Nine bouncers,” Green said half-jokingly.

 

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