Hounds start 1-2 in Mountain League

Rubber match with Templeton on Friday

ATASCADERO — The Atascadero Greyhounds baseball team had a rough start to Mountain League play but turned it around on Tuesday when they beat the Templeton Eagles, 4-2. Atascadero played Righetti at home on Friday afternoon and welcomed Fresno on Saturday but was outscored a combined 18-2 in the two games as they were in the midst of a five-game losing streak.

Offense has been hard to come by for the Hounds this season, during their five-game slide they were outscored 37-8. Giving up early runs and putting themselves behind the eightball is something that has hurt Atascadero recently. Both on Friday’s and Saturday’s games Atascadero surrendered two runs in the top of the first inning and gave up a single run in the first in Tuesday’s game against Templeton.

The Greyhounds’ win against Templeton was their first Mountain League win of the season and knotted up the season series with Templeton at one apiece after dropping their first game to the Eagles on March 9, 4-1. Atascadero’s Evyn Laude got the start on the mound for the Hounds and toed the rubber for the entire game. Laude started a bit shaky in the top of the first but quickly settled down and started contributing to his own cause on offense.

Laude opened the game hitting the first batter he faced, struck out the next and then gave up an RBI single to Templeton’s Justice Gibbons who hit a line drive to center field. After Gibbons gave the Eagles the lead in the first, Macer Lardner reached base due to a defensive fielding error by the Hounds, according to Gamechanger. With two out and two on Laude hit his next batter to load up the bases in the top of the first inning but was able to get out of the inning only giving up a single run by striking out Eagles freshman Julian Kirschenstein in the next at-bat.

Eli Bullard got the start for Templeton on the mound and struck out the first two batters that he faced in the bottom half of the first inning before facing Atascadero’s No. 3 hitter. Laude stepped into the box and took the first pitch he saw over the left-field fence simultaneously tying up the game and energizing his team. Hitting is contagious and the Hounds caught the bug breaking out of their slump in a big way by registering eight hits on the afternoon.

Following Laude’s home run, Justin Vose singled on a slow bouncing groundball and was driven in by Blake Simonin on the next at-bat when he hit a rocket that skipped into centerfield.

Holding on to a narrow 2-1 lead Laude began dealing only allowing a single base runner in each of the next two innings that were eventually stranded on base. Templeton knotted the game in the top of the fourth when a Merek Hall leadoff single followed by another defensive error by the Hounds put runners on the corners with no outs. Sophomore Gavin Taber drove in the Eagles’ second run on a base hit following the error. With two men on and no outs, Templeton was in good position to take the lead and opted for some small ball sacrifice bunting the next batter to move the runners over. However, the Eagles’ next batter was unable to get his bat on the ball to score a run as Laude recorded one of his nine strikeouts. Bullard stepped into the box to try and help his cause the way Laude did in the first inning but was unable to come up with a base hit.

Atascadero added a run in the bottom of the fourth inning on a passed ball and another on a Taylor Hedger RBI single to center field to take the game 4-2.

Laude finished with the complete-game victory pitching seven innings, walking three, striking out nine and only giving up a single earned run.

Atascadero is 2-9 on the season and 1-2 in the Mountain League. The Eagles are 1-7 overall and 0-2 in league. The two teams will play their rubber match on Friday, March 22, at Vineyard Elementary, first pitch is scheduled for 4:30 p.m.


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