The GCCL Bucs hosted the Bakersfield Braves at Los Angeles Valley College Wednesday, dropping the first of their three game series by a score of 6-4. The Bucs came into their matchup looking to flip the switch after a tough loss against the Crescenta Valley Falcons, finishing their previous week with a record of 1-1-1.
The Bucs sent right-hander Hunter Edwards (L, 2-2) to make his fourth start of the season. A four-run bottom of the first inning for the Bucs helped give Edwards some comfort room to work with. The Braves, however, decided to respond right back with four runs in the top of the second, bringing the score back to a tie.
After the second, Edwards proved reliable throughout the rest of his outing. Although he had thrown 47 pitches in the first two innings, Edwards settled into a groove allowing only three hits and one run over his final four innings, while not throwing more than 17 pitches in any of them. Edwards finished with a stat line of 6 IP, 10 H, 5 ER, 2 BB, and 4 K while throwing 102 pitches.
The bullpen, led by right-handed relievers Justin Pauly and Logan Tourville, focused on trying to limit the deficit, and keep the ballgame competitive. Neither pitcher allowed a single hit through three combined innings of work, however a costly error would give the Braves a two-run advantage in the top of the ninth inning.
Despite the valiant effort from the pitching staff, the Bucs bats failed to launch after an explosive first inning, capitalized by RBI singles from Michael Choi, Brandon Cuervo, and Alex Howard.
Finding opportunities to get runners on base proved to be a tough task, as the Bucs as a whole walked twice throughout the game, and put runners in scoring position just twice after the first inning.
The Bucs did have some bright spots within a relatively dormant offense, as shortstop Evan Kang, first baseman Eddie Tejeda, and right fielder Chase Kriger finished with multi-hit performances.
“For myself, I want to be the leader of my team and get what we need to get going. Workwise, baserunning might be one of our key weaknesses, but we know that if we make mistakes, we’re just going to learn from them,” said Tejeda.
The Bucs will conclude their three-game set with the Bakersfield Braves on Saturday at Los Angeles Valley College with a doubleheader. The scheduled time for the first game’s first pitch of the doubleheader will be at 1:00 p.m.