Huntington Beach, Calif. - In a pitching battle of aces on the mound, Golden West's Troy Bethel proved to be up to the task in a big Orange Empire Conference victory over Cypress College 3-2.
It was a pitching performance that saw Bethel scatter nine hits over eight innings while surrendering two runs with three strikeouts. In the crucial fifth through eighth innings Bethel showed he was getting stroner as he only surrendered two hits, with a base runner getting no further than second base.
The Rustler offense had five hits on the afternoon but made the most of them, especially in the third inning. Trailing 2-0 heading into the bottom of the frame, Golden West was able to plate two runs to tie the game at 2-2. Freshman third basemen Logan Mahaffy led off the inning with a line drive single to right center field. Next batter Josue Lopez would use a swinging bunt to advance Mahaffy to second base, Trent Whitaker would follow by cashing in on Mahaffy in scoring position with a laser down the left field line and advance to second on a bobbled ball by the left fielder. Jeremiah Vison followed Whitaker's lead and smacked a single to score Whitaker from second, tying the game a 2-2.
Vison's speed played a vitale role in the Rustler's scoring the eventual game winning run in the bottom of the eighth. He would hit an infield single with one out to get on, then after a couple of pickoff attempts, he stole second. While stealing second base, the throw from the catcher went way over the second baseman's head and into centerfield, allowing Vison to advance to third base. Ezele Wicks with the Chargers infield in, hit a ball to the second baseman who threw the ball home to try and cut down the speedy Vison. But Vison was too fast as his head first slide into home was just ahead of the tag by the catcher, giving the Rustler's the lead 3-2.
Golden West brought in closer Eric Romo, who made things interesting but ultimately earned the save.
NEXT: The Rustler's will travel to Cypress College on Thursday, April 5th for a 2pm first pitch.