FRESNO — Each spring, Davis High coach Dan Ariola ushers his players into the Fresno Easter Classic. Ariola is hopeful that his team will bond on the three-day road trip while getting a chance to play some of the best baseball schools in California.
In the Blue Devils’ last two matchups down south this year, that “best baseball schools” thing meant DHS would play Clovis and Frontier (Bakersfield).
After a 5-3 loss to the Cougars on Tuesday — in which Davis ace Matt Trask (3-1) was handed his first loss of 2013 — the Devils ran into the Titans’ No. 3 starter Eddie Torres.
If Torres (2-2) is Frontier’s third-best hurler, their top dog must be Justin Verlander.
In a 3-0 loss Wednesday afternoon at Fresno City College, DHS had to wait until two outs in the last inning before getting its first hit — a single up the middle by Trey Golston.
The frustrated offense ruined a solid outing by Blue Devil starter Bobby Young, who allowed but four hits over his five innings of work.
“Bobby threw well. (Frontier) is good. They’re in the championship game,” Ariola explained. “We could have knocked them out, but we couldn’t do it.”
Davis went 1-3 in the three-day tournament, its win a 10-3 Tuesday afternoon decision over West Bakersfield.
“We played some good teams (Clovis and Frontier are a combined 27-6-1) and you can only get better when you play good teams,” Ariola added. “That last game against Clovis was a great game. So was the Monday night (6-5 loss to Edison) game.
“This tournament is good teams in a good environment.”
Despite Young’s strong pitching and five strikeouts, the Titans (12-3-1) pecked away for single runs in the first, fourth and fifth innings.
After Golston’s single ruined Torres’ no-hit bid, FHS skipper John Moncier went to his bullpen for the final out.
Also, Devil Brett Bloomfield pitched a quick sixth inning after Young left.
DHS is now 7-5 and doesn’t play again until next Thursday at Franklin (5-6) in the Delta Valley Conference opener.
Ariola said he was happy with Young’s emergence. The senior right-hander hasn’t pitched in two seasons and the coach is all smiles when he says: “Bobby has looked good as a starter for us. Knowing I can give Bobby the ball and get five or six good innings from him is a great feeling.
“I’m happy with our two top starters (Trask and Young) and (relievers Jake) Miille and Adam (Inouye) have been solid.”
With Hudson Forrester catching four innings and normal backstop Hayden Duer finishing the final two, Ariola added that his depth behind the plate also is reassuring.
Notes: Davis went 3-1 last year in Fresno and was 3-0-1 the season before. The Blue Devils have yet to win the tournament. … “Now it’s back to work, get prepared for a tough league,” Ariola said, adding that everyone seemed to come away from their Central Valley excursion in good health. … DHS opens its home DVC schedule on April 5 when 7-3 Grant comes calling.