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Highlands Christian Downs Olympic Heights 9-5

The game between the Olympic Heights Lions and The Highlands Knights got off to a bang right from the first inning. Lead off hitter Jason Patel started the game with a solid single to left and then proceeded to move all the way around to third on a single to right by the next batter, Carlos Gutierrez. All this was followed by another crisp single to right by Jonathan Marcus and the game was off to a rapid start.

The first inning was a sign of things to come in this offense-laden contest that would end in a 9-5 win for the host Knights. The Knights starting pitcher Kyle Bombardier settled down and retired the next three batters to stop the inning before it got out of hand. It was his teammates turn at bat and they kept the scoring going for their half inning. After a couple of ground outs, Swindley Lint singled to left, followed by a single to right by Kyle Bombardier. Knights starting catcher Jose Sosa proceeded to lace a double to left-center to plate two runs for the home team and tie up the score.

The Lions struck back in the top of the second after a walk to Jason Richman, then a solid single by Brooks Lamb put runners on base. Jason Patel reached on a squeeze play that resulted in a run scoring off an error. Patel later scored after a stolen base and a passed ball to put two runs on the board for the visiting Lions.

The Knights stormed back in the bottom of the second inning. Will Colien reached on an infield error, Christen Lasten follows with a single of his own and Chad Allen put down a perfectly-executed sacrifice bunt to advance the runners. Jisdar Clotida followed with another single to score two more for the Knights to make it a 5-3 score.

Bombardier settled down and breezed through the third inning and only gave up one run in the fourth after a hit batter, a fielders choice and a walk. Jason Patel put down a perfect squeeze to score a run for the visitors in their part of the fourth inning of play.

“I had a  lot of adrenaline at the start and had to just settle down. I’m very excited with the outcome and look forward to the season this year,” Bombardier said.

Lions starting pitcher Jared Spector kept the home team off the board in the third, but was unable to repeat that in the fourth as the Knights got a couple of base runners through a hit by pitch and a walk. Those were followed by a single by Daniel Malay to plate the sixth run of the game for home team.

“It was my first game back after an injury, and to face a good hitting team like Highlands Christian was a challenge,” Spector said. “I hit my spots but was not consistent enough against a good team like them.”

The Lions added a run of their own in the fifth inning as a result of singles by Roger Edge and Francisco Hernandez, but were unable to muster anything else to cut into the deficit.

At this point, the home team was able to put together a nice inning for themselves and put some distance between them and the visiting Lions. After Ryan Proietto and Christen Lasten were hit by a pitches, Chad Allen followed with a walk to load the bases. With “ducks on the pond” Daniel Malay proceeded to drive in two runners and Swindley Lint added another RBI to put a little breathing room between them and the Lions.

Ryan Proietto entered the game in relief of starting pitcher Bombardier and set the visitors down quietly in the sixth inning. Jason Richman and Stephen Werksman each pitched an inning of relief for the Lions and held the Knights scoreless, but the damage was done.

“We either tied or won every inning and that keeps the game in perspective,” Proietto said. 

The visiting Lions made a last push to close the gap as Adam Will reached on a walk, but then was removed from the base paths by a fielders choice grounder by Frankie Hernandez. Aaron Weldy worked a walk but the game was closed out by good defense on a very nice double play to end the game.

“We played well, and are starting to put it together,” Manager Bruce Charlebois said. “We’ve got to find out who can compete at the varsity level and we are going a little light with three arms and will have to get some depth.” Charlebois also was pleased as the team earlier before the game had done a devotion and used Timothy 1:7 “God gives us the spirit of power, not timidity and not fear” and he felt his guys transferred that to the field Thursday.

Manager Casey Beck was pleased with the effort but not the final score.

“We had two good preseason games and played close but couldn’t finish them,” Beck said. “We are a young team and were a little flat tonight, but we are young and I’m excited for the upcoming season.”

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