A couple of home runs from Jackson Willeford and Tyler Gnesda power Chargers offense, while Nathan Kuchta came one out away from a complete game in the 6-1 victory over Fullerton.
Just two days after Dylan Prohoroff thoroughly shut down the first-place Chargers offense, the Hornets traveled to Cypress for what they hoped would be a second straight victory.
Fullerton pitcher Gordon Cardenas looked to pick up where Prohoroff left off on Tuesday, retiring the side in order in the bottom of the first inning.
The seamless baton handoff was short lived, as the Chargers got a run in the second inning when Austin Case singled up the middle, bringing home Gnesda.
One inning later, back to back singles from Aaron Case and Jack Flansburg left the afore mentioned at first and third. The next batter, Willeford stepped to the plate and launched a line drive home run over the right field wall to make the score was 4-0.
Then in the bottom of the fifth inning, the Chargers completed one of the most elusive plays in all of baseball, the triple tag-up. All three runners advanced on a sacrifice fly to center field by Gnesda, scoring Flansburg from third base.
For good measure, Gnesda lead off the bottom of the seventh inning with a towering shot that cleared the 15 foot wall in left field.
For the Hornets, it was not all bad. They finished the game with a bit of a rally in the ninth inning, putting together a couple hits and a walk. Austin Obanion singled in Julio Rivera to get the Hornets on the scoreboard. Fullerton finally chased Kutcha from the game after 8.2 innings.
Kutcha finished with one earned run, scattering 10 hits and four strikeouts en route to picking up his ninth victory of the season (9-1).
The problem it seemed for the Hornets all game long was timely hitting. FC finished with 10 hits, but left nine runners on base.
Another perspective is that Kutcha was able to get the critical outs when he needed them the most, which is an ability that all successful pitchers seem to share.
“He is a really good pitcher man, we got the hits, but somehow he found a way to stop the bleeding and stopped us from scoring runs,” said center fielder David Miranda.
To their credit, Fullerton also hit a lot of balls really hard, they just happened to be right at Chargers players and they played a relatively mistake free game, with just one inconsequential error coming in the ninth inning.
The Hornets should not hang their heads after this one. The Chargers offense has been on another level compared to all the other OEC teams. Cypress finished the season with 42 more RBI and 39 more runs scored than next closest teams.
Offensively for the Hornets quite a rare stat-line occurred, 10 different players collected one hit a piece.
The biggest news of the day was that Fullerton, primarily due to their blazing hot start to the season (12-3), has a good chance to still make the playoffs.
According to Head Coach Nick Fuscardo, the Hornets will most likely be opening the playoffs next Friday. The location, opponent and game time are all still unclear as of now.
“Im hearing we have a pretty good chance to make it,” said Miranda.
The Hornets will take the weekend off and look forward to getting back into the swing of things with practice on Monday in anticipation of Fridays matchup. The Hornets will be sending Prohoroff to the mound, coming off his recent complete game victory over Cypress, confidence will be high.