TEMECULA – Baseball is a game of adjustments…to pitchers, umpires, and weather conditions among other things. Great Oak starting pitcher Braden Wauschek had Chaparral (7-1, 3-0) stymied in their first trip through the batting order on Friday afternoon, recording five strikeouts without allowing a hit.
But things quickly unraveled for Great Oak as the Pumas scored three runs in the fourth and took a 3-0 lead. It was a lead Chaparral would not relinquish, although the Wolfpack loaded the bases in the bottom of the seventh inning, as they prevailed 6-2 to stay undefeated in Southwestern League play.
“We tried our best to get our field playable for this game but there wasn’t enough turface (quick dry infield conditioner) in the city to get it into a playable condition,” Puma’s head coach Chris Dress said laughingly. “We haven’t been on our field since Monday due to the rain, but our guys have done an excellent job of just rolling with things as they come.”
In the top of the fourth inning Zack Burrow led the Pumas off with a single and Darin Osterloh drew a walk. Burrow scored on an RBI fielder’s choice from Cooper Rasmussen to take a 1-0 lead. Pumas’ starting pitcher Braylon Doughty then hit an RBI triple scoring Osterloh. A bloop single, which just got into right field, scored Doughty as Wauschek limited the damage to a trio of runs.
“It’s definitely been weird to get the ball this many times this early in the season but I’m just out here having fun with my opportunities,” Doughty said, “Once we made the adjustments, we did a nice job of timing him (Wauschek) and putting the ball into play.”
Great Oak (5-2, 2-2) struck for a run in the bottom of the fourth inning as Dylan Fien led off with a single and came around to score on a wild pitch to make it 3-1 Chaparral after four innings. Doughty led off in the sixth with a double off the left center field wall and came around to score as Mikey Ong reached on an error with two outs, making it 4-1 Chaparral after six innings. Chaparral added two more runs in the seventh as back-to-back singles from Caleb Udell and Burrow along with a bunt single from Osterloh loaded the bases for Rasmussen who came through with a two RBI single.
With a five-run lead Brady Pavlovsky entered in relief of Doughty and immediately found trouble, allowing a leadoff double, hitting a batter, and walking another to give the Wolfpack a bases loaded situation with two outs. Pavlovsky walked in a run and gave way to Cayden Goebel who came in and got a groundout from senior first baseman Riley Ricken.
“Innings like the seventh are why you don’t get satisfied offensively and keep scoring,” Dress added. “I would’ve let Brady try to finish the inning except for the fact that we’re playing a makeup doubleheader tomorrow and he’s one of the scheduled starters. Cayden came in, knew he had a cushion, and trusted the defense to get that last out. We’re happy with where we’re at in the league so far, but we also know there’s a long way to go.”
Doughty has recorded 49 strikeouts while allowing just 13 hits and a half dozen walks in five appearances so far this year. The Pumas, who beat Vista Murrieta last week for the first time since 2017, are the only remining team that have not won a Southwestern League title since the league originated in 2004.
WP: Doughty, Braylon 6 IP, 4 H, 9 K’s, 1 BB, 1 run scored
LP: Wauschek, Braden 5 IP, 4 H, 6 K’s, 2 BB, 3 runs scored
Leading Hitters: Fien (GO) 3-3 with a walk; Doughty (Chap) 2-4 with an RBI.
In other SWL baseball news this past Friday, Vista Murrieta (5-4 overall) moved to 2-1 in league play with their 6-0 shutout win over Murrieta Valley (5-5, 2-3), and Temecula Valley (5-1-1 overall) also moved to 2-1 with their 3-1 win over Murrieta Mesa (2-5, 0-4).
While the rain took over during the past two weeks on the fields for local baseball and softball teams, there are a load of preseason tournament makeup games taking place around the area Saturday, through early next week. Southwestern League play will resume Wednesday, March 22. Article contributions made by Valley News Sports Editor, JP Raineri.
Derryl Trujillo can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.