Eagles get first victory under Tompkins


Beat Hounds in Atascadero

ATASCADERO — The Templeton Eagles have had a rocky start to the beginning of the season having already gone through a coaching change before ever taking the field. Cesar Ortega who was hired in mid-December was let go by the school after those close to the situation say he tried to reschedule the Eagles’ first game of the season against the Paso Robles Bearcats the day of the contest without going through the appropriate steps.

Templeton’s official statement on the matter was, “In order for the Templeton Athletics Department to maintain our high standards for both positive student experience and team success, we have made some staffing changes for the current 2018-19 program year."

The Eagles are now coached by Rob Tompkins who originally started coaching the junior varsity and on Saturday the boys picked up their first win of the season against the Greyhounds, 4-1. It was a close game throughout with the Eagles not taking the lead until late in the game thanks to an error from the Hounds’ defense, a costly walk and some clutch hitting from Templeton.

Both teams have struggled to get practice time this season due to field conditions and rainouts but smiles were beaming out of both dugouts as the boys just wanted to play some baseball.

Atascadero grabbed the lead early starting with a Blake Simonin walk in the second inning. Next to the plate was Gavin Martinez who promptly singled to right field on the first pitch he saw, advancing Simonin to second. Greyhounds starting pitcher Justin Vose was next in the lineup and hit a single to left field, scoring Simonin and giving Atascadero a 1-0 lead.

The Hounds held that lead until the top of the fifth inning when Justice Gibbons grounded into a fielder’s choice that scored Connor Becker who was at third after drawing a walk to open the inning. The fifth inning was Vose’s final inning of work and he finished giving up five hits, with nine strikeouts and issuing six walks.

Trent Wills started for the Eagles and pitched four innings giving up three hits and three walks with seven strikeouts before handing the ball to Gibbons who closed the game out with five strikeouts while only facing nine batters.

Templeton entered the sixth inning tied at 1-1 before blowing this game open with a little help from the Hounds defense and some patience in the box. The sixth inning rally began with Nolan Stetz driving a ball into center field for a one-out single. Robbie Lardner followed up the single with a walk and Becker put the Eagles in front with his single to right field that scored Stetz.

“I have been working a lot on my hitting and just getting a lot of reps in,” Becker said after the game. “So the practice came through.”

Wills followed the single with a walk of his own loading the bases up for Gavin Taber. Taber grounded to third and Greyhound third baseman Simonin slipped trying to scoop up the ball and was charged with an error. Only one run scored on the error putting Templeton up 3-1 but kept the bases loaded with only one out in the inning. Next in the box was Merek Hall who after falling behind in the count 0-2 grounded into a fielder’s choice scoring one and was able to beat out the Hounds’ attempt at turning two and keeping the inning alive.

Gibbons would strike out three and allow a walk in the bottom of the sixth as the rain began to fall. The rain started as a drizzle and slowly the drops became thicker and continued through the end of the game.

“It is a relief, finally [to get a win]” Gibbons said as he let out a sigh. “We had some struggles early on, hitting, pitching but it felt like everything came together today.”

With the win, the Eagles are now 1-5 on the season as the Tompkins era is officially started.

“The thing is that we are real young,” Tompkins said. “We’ve only got two starting seniors, two starting juniors and the rest are all freshmen and sophomores so it’s important for the young kids to see some of these older kids get out there and play and put it all together.”

Tuesday night the Eagles traveled to San Luis Obispo to take on the reigning league champions who are stacked with talent, boasting two potential high round draft picks on their team in pitcher Cooper Benson and shortstop Brooks Lee and lost 6-1.

Templeton will get a second crack at the SLO on Friday, this time at home. First pitch is scheduled for 6 p.m.

© 2019-Atascadero News


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