Sophomore Pierce Tujo picked up his first victory as a member of the Davis High varsity baseball team on Saturday as the Blue Devils took an efficient 4-0 decision from visiting Laguna Creek on Saturday.
The game was a makeup of Friday’s rain-postponed Delta Valley Conference outing.
“(Pierce) was solid. He started out a little slow … but he did a good job,” DHS coach Dan Ariola said of his recent call-up from junior varsity. “He has this nice, little slider. It’s a very effective pitch and that’s what he was getting a lot of guys with (Saturday).”
Tujo (1-0) went four innings, allowed but one hit, walked four and fanned four. He gave way to Ted Riffle, who pitched two-plus hitless innings. Trey Golston got the Cardinals 1-2-3 after Riffle walked the leadoff batter in the seventh. It marked Golston’s third save.
The Devils (12-8-1, 8-2) scratched out two runs in the second when a Golston single plated Nate Curtis. Quentin McCray, who had singled, took third on the hit.
When Golston stole second, the catcher’s throw sailed into center field, allowing McCray to scamper home.
Curtis opened the Davis fourth with a hit, eventually coming plateward on Golston’s fielder’s-choice groundout.
It looked for a moment like the locals would break things open in the fifth, but a bases-loaded, nobody-out situation was quelled by Card reliever Cruz Ramos, who retired the final three batters he faced, keeping the three Blue Devils stranded. Ramos allowed a hit and an unearned run in two innings of work.
DHS’ Ryan Kreilder, whose two hits raised his average to .409, drove home John Ariola in the sixth to cap the scoring. Before scoring, Ariola had been hit by a pitch with one out, went to second on an errant pick-off throw, then reached third on Brett Bloomfield’s groundout.
Davis is a half-game ahead of Elk Grove (14-4, 7-2) for first place in the DVC. As the Sac-Joaquin Section playoffs and the big May 5-6 series with the Thundering Herd loom, Ariola said Tujo adds welcome depth to the Devils’ 1-2 mound punch of Matt Trask and Bloomfield.
“It’s nice to know we have a good third starter,” explained the longtime DHS skipper. “We could have Trey in there, too, but we like to use him (as a closer).
“And don’t forget Ted’s been stepping up for us,” Ariola added of Riffle, the senior right-hander with the hurky-jerky motion. “He’s hard to hit. If he has his command, the ball’s just moving. You could just see (Saturday) how they have trouble with him.”
The Blue Devils go for a three-game sweep of Laguna Creek (10-12, 3-7) on the road Tuesday. The Cardinals have lost five straight, while Davis has won three straight.
The Devils then get a breather Thursday and Friday away and home, respectively, against Monterey Trail (1-21, 0-10).
Notes: Laguna Creek sophomore hurler Josh Congress fell to 5-4, but still owns a respectable 2.38 earned run average. … Tujo (who once pitched in the Little League World Series for a U.S. Air Force Base in Germany) lowered his ERA to 2.73 in 9 1/3 varsity innings. … A nonconference contest with visiting De La Salle (an East Bay League powerhouse that stands at 13-5) precedes those back-to-back crucials with Elk Grove next month. The May 5 game is on the road for the Blue Devils, who get The Herd at home the following day.
— Reach Bruce Gallaudet at firstname.lastname@example.org or 530-320-4456