Roberto Delgado gave up a lead-off single in the first inning and a lead-off walk in the second and then said no more.
The Shoemaker pitcher struck out 11, gave up just four hits and the Grey Wolves shutout Ellison 3-0 on Thursday at Shoemaker.
“That was my motivation after that happened was not to give up any base hits and minimize his walks,” Delgado said through his translator, Shoemaker head coach Harry Zambrana. “That’s what motivated me from the third inning on.”
Shoemaker (11-9, 3-4 8-5A) scored two runs on squeeze plays in the fourth and fifth innings and Alberto Castro’s two-out RBI triple in the fifth gave the Grey Wolves a three-run lead and a share of fourth place in the District 8-5A standings with Ellison midway through the district season.
“Knowing that it’s a big game as it is, I just wanted to make sure I had my concentration and focus and I wanted to pitch a good game for my team,” Delgado said.
Despite getting its lead-off batters on base to start the first two innings, Ellison (5-16, 3-4) had both runners thrown out while trying to steal bases. The Eagles had three runners thrown out on the basepath in the game.
“We ran the bases real poorly the first three innings, ran ourselves out of some innings. We second-guessed our running instead of just running and I think that came back to bite us,” Ellison head coach Kyle Allred said.
Ellison pitcher Tyler Bark was almost as impressive as Delgado.
The senior gave up eight hits and struck out seven, including three straight in the third inning with Shoemaker players standing on second and third base.
“Tyler’s our senior. It was a big game and we want to have him on the mound. He did a good job. It was 1-0 going into the fifth inning; he did his part, I think, if anything hurt us it was some of our defensive play,” Allred said.
Ellison committed four errors, including one when Bark didn’t make a clean throw to Ellison catcher Felix Collazo on Delgado’s squeeze bunt in the bottom of the fifth that allowed John Gueits to score from third. Chris Alepuyo, courtesy running for Delgado, then scored the next at-bat on Castro’s triple to the centerfield fence.
Castro scored in the bottom of the fourth on Ramiro Gonzalez’ squeeze bunt to give the Grey Wolves a 1-0 lead.
“Last year, we lost a lot of games because we were unable to score guys from third base. We had to change our mindset,” Zambrana said. “That’s when we started working that squeeze and it worked for us. Not only did we get some guys on, but we scored some runs as well. It was a good thing for us tonight.”