When a team has 11 at-bats in the first inning, that is usually a pretty good sign.
The Davis High baseball team saw that happen in the bottom of first Thursday, then finished off a 12-1 mercy-rule beatdown of visiting Monterey Trail.
After pitcher Walter Bolle retired the first three Mustang hitters, the Blue Devil offense came alive.
John Ariola led off the inning with a sharp single to center and quickly stole second. Brett Bloomfield then took a fastball for the team, and followed by performing a double steal with Ariola to put two DHS runners in scoring position. The next batter, Ryan Kreidler, hit a sacrifice fly to bring in Ariola.
After that, Bloomfield scored on a wild pitch, and just like that the Devils (6-3-1, 3-1 Delta Valley Conference) found themselves up 2-0.
And the offensive outburst didn’t stop there: Matt Trask, Trey Golston, Nate Curtis and Hudson Forrester all scored in the opening frame, as Davis sent 11 men to the plate.
Blue Devil head coach Dan Ariola was especially happy with his team’s hitting since the offense had been sputtering recently.
“We hit the ball solid in the first inning, we got some guys on, hit the ball hard, and they made a couple errors,” Ariola said. “We put some pressure on them — they messed up a rundown — but we still have to keep grinding, and keep having quality at-bats.”
By the end of the second inning, the locals had an 11-0 lead and every single DHS hitter had reached base at least once. The Devils scored all 12 runs within the first three frames.
Meanwhile, the Davis pitchers had little trouble with Monterey Trail (0-12, 0-4). Bolle threw four solid innings, giving up only one hit and one run, then Ted Riffle came on in the fifth and struck out all three batters he saw.
With a road game at Elk Grove looming Friday, some of the Blue Devil regulars were able to get a little rest against the Mustangs. This meant that players like Jared McNece, Ian Miramontes and Eric Walker all got some game experience Thursday.
“Yeah, we’re trying to get everybody some opportunities, trying to build some depth,” Ariola said. “Everyone contributes on this team — everybody plays. It was good to see those guys come up and give us some good stuff (Thursday).”
Now, the powerful Thundering Herd await. Though it will be a big DVC matchup, Ariola said every league game will be extremely important because of the conference’s depth.
“You know, even Laguna Creek is solid,” Ariola said. “So there’s five teams (LC, Grant, Franklin, Elk Grove and Davis) that will battle for it. Certainly Elk Grove has always been one of the best teams we’ve had to play — we enjoy playing them, it’s always a very competitive game.”
Trask, DHS’ ace who is headed to UCLA next year, will be on the mound Friday, but Ariola has told his whole staff to be ready.
“We have to keep doing what we’ve been doing on the mound,” Ariola said. “We need Matt to go out and give us a solid performance, which he will, and we need to play solid defense behind him. Elk Grove is a good, solid team. They’re going to hit some balls hard so we’re going to have to play catch and prevent the big inning.”
The Devils also stole six bases in the Monterey Trail contest, a day after using the bunt successfully in a win over Laguna Creek. Davis will use more of the same at Elk Grove.
“Everyone’s going to have to come up and move runners around, get their bunts down, have productive outs — that’s what we’re going to have to do (Friday),” Ariola said. “Every day it’s the same (keys) for us. It’s throw strikes, play defense, and compete at the plate.”
— Reach Thomas Oide at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter at @ReporterThomas.