Blue Devil baseball fans can breathe again.
After a rough patch in which Davis High lost four of its last five contests — then went on a nine-day “vacation” without playing a game — local supporters wondered what the layoff would mean going into this weekend’s Delta Valley Conference play.
After beating Grant and Franklin on Friday and Saturday, the Devils have once again thrown their collective hats into the DVC ring.
“This is a good momentum-builder going into a tough week where we have Laguna (Creek) … then we play Elk Grove,” DHS second baseman Brett Bloomfield told The Enterprise after his RBI double provided Davis’ go-ahead run in the sixth inning of Saturday’s 5-2 win at Franklin.
A Bloomfield hit also accounted for a key score in Friday’s 4-2 home victory against Grant.
The junior three-sport standout has been playing second while regular infielder Joe Murray moved to designated hitter to give Murray’s sore right shoulder a rest.
Trailing 2-0 against the Wildcats, Davis’ winning hurler Matt Trask scored a run via wild pitch a short while after beating out an infield single in the fourth.
Still behind in the sixth inning, C.K. Hicks (running for Trask, who had walked) scored on a passed ball to tie things at 2-2.
Hayden Duer’s infield single extended the inning, then with two outs came home when Bloomfield provided his big blast. Bloomfield, who’s been smacking the ball to all fields, walked his previous two times up.
Is he doing anything different in his approach to hitting as the season progresses?
“I’ve always been trying to hit line drives,” Bloomfield explains. “But the pitch I hit today … those are the kind of pitches I’ve been told to go with and try to get them into the gaps, so I did.”
After Trask (4-1) had been the beneficiary of the Devils’ mini-outburst, reliever Jake Miille came on to pitch scoreless sixth and seventh innings while Davis struck for two insurance runs in the final frame…
John Ariola led off with a double, followed by Chris Daunt’s bleeder to left. After Bobby Young (Friday’s winning pitcher) grounded out to third, DHS found itself with runners at second and third.
Trask re-entered the game and slapped an RBI single to left, scoring Ariola. Shortstop Ryan Kreidler followed with a sacrifice fly to center and the locals had completed their comeback.
“We hit some balls hard early, just didn’t have anything to show for it,” longtime Davis skipper Dan Ariola said. “But like I told the guys, you’ve got to win the fifth, sixth and seventh — and we pitched well late, played defense and had a lot of quality at-bats late in those two games.”
On Friday, the Blue Devils were greeted by a small cadre of Grant players. Down to 11 healthy/eligible members, the Pacers turned to sophomore pitcher Polo Portela — not aces Branden Nunn or Cameron Avila-Leeper.
GHS coach Danny Chavez almost got away with the move…
Portela pitched a complete-game, five-hitter — but Davis starter Young, despite allowing eight hits, tight-roped through five innings and escaped with his second win of 2013.
Leaving three Pacers stranded in one frame and two on in two others, Young turned things over to Adam Inouye, leading 4-2 in the sixth. Inouye allowed one hit and picked up his third save.
Young helped his own cause with an RBI hit, Kreidler scored after his double and Bloomfield added that run-scoring single.
“I’m proud of the guys for coming through like that in tight spots,” Ariola continued. “They were good games for us. We hit a little rough spot down there in Fresno (1-3); didn’t play too well. But we had a good week of practice. I think we’re getting better.”
The timing is perfect.
Laguna Creek (4-10) comes to town Tuesday. On Thursday, Davis travels to Monterey Trail (2-13) Thursday, then has the first of three crucial encounters with Elk Grove (10-2) Friday at DHS.
Notes: Murray, who’s hitting over .425, is expected to return to an infield position next week, according to Ariola. …Franklin coach Bryan Kilby says Trask is “one of the best pitchers in the area … probably the best in our league.” …On Saturday, catcher Duer squelched any thoughts the ‘Cats had of running when he threw out Franklin’s first batter Hank LoForte trying to steal. LoForte had reached on an error. …Miille made two sparkling fielding plays, showcasing his versatility. In the fourth, Miille made a nice running catch in left, then turned pinch-hitter Damien Chavez’s attempted sacrifice bunt into a double play — thanks to a diving snag and a flip to first, erasing Nick Frei. …Sacramento State-bound Tyler Blake went 2-for-4 for the Wildcats and Jacob Buckhalter was 2-for-3 with a double. In relief of Trent Spallas, Cameron Keup took the loss (allowing two, sixth-inning runs).
— Reach Bruce Gallaudet at [email protected] or 530-747-8047.