Chargers blast Steinbrenner in six innings

Strawberry Crest senior Eli Vickers made his first high school start on the mound, earning the in behind three innings of work, with three strikeouts. 

By Brandon Wright, Features Writer

DOVER – The orange wake trailing SpaceX 9 Falcon’s ascension into space shone bright in the distance over the right centerfield fence at Strawberry Crest Tuesday night. But it was the Chargers’ bats who provided the rockets below.

Crest put up a crooked number in each of the first four innings and cruised to a 14-4 win against visiting Steinbrenner in the final Pool C game of the Saladino Tournament.

“We hit a ton of barrels tonight,” Crest coach Eric Beattie said. “They came out looking for good pitches to hit, they got them and they didn’t miss them.”

It was difficult to tell which team had something to play for. Steinbrenner would have advanced to the tournament semis with a win, while the Chargers were already eliminated from contention thanks to Newsome’s 6-3, extra-inning win earlier in the day.

“We explained everything as black and white as we could and that’s the effort we got,” Steinbrenner coach John Crumbley said. “So, we have to do a better job.”

The Chargers racked up 11 hits on the night, including a pair each from RayAllen Vasquez, Zach Redner, Akhil Nimmala and Reuben Vasquez.

“We had an opportunity to do something special and get to the semifinals with a victory, we jump out to a 2-0 lead and then we can’t field and we can’t throw,” Crumbley said. “It’s bad coaching because I don’t have them doing the fundamentals correctly.”

Strawberry Crest (7-3) wasted little time, plating six runs in the first two frames before chasing Warriors’ starter Austin Liss one out into the second. The Warriors didn’t help their cause, committing three errors during that stretch.

“(Liss) kind of struggled throwing his breaking ball over for a strike a little bit,” Beattie said. “So, we locked in on the fastball and hit it hard.”

Eli Vickers, making his first career start, kept Steinbrenner (5-3) off balance. He gave up a two-run homer to JW Stephens three batters into the game but allowed only two hits through three innings of work, striking out three.

“I pitch a lot during the summer,” Vickers said. “After I gave up the bomb I was like, ‘Eh it happens’. I just wanted to pound the zone, have fun and keep us in the game.”

Vickers said although the Chargers had already lost out on a possible trip to the semis, there was incentive to play spoiler.

“We had that chance taken away from us (after 2-0 loss to Newsome Friday),” he said. “We were upset.”

Redner drove in four runs, Arjun Nimmala collected two RBIs and RayAllen Vasquez swiped a pair of bags for the Chargers.

“Sooner or later we have to trust our abilities,” Crumbley said. “We’re not JV players anymore. Until we do that, we’ll just be an average team.”

Strawberry Crest 14, Steinbrenner 4 (6)

S   200|020|x – |4|3|5
SC 344|201|x – |14|11|1
W – Vickers (1-0); L – Liss (1-2)
2B – Vasquez 2, Redner, Philpott, Ar, Nimmala (SC); 3B – Ak. Nimmala (SC); HR – Stephens (S). Records – S (5-3); SC (7-3).