EPHRATA — The temperature might have been muggy and in the low 90s/high 80s Monday night at Johnson O’Brien Stadium in Ephrata, but Vance Alvarado was as cold as ice. The Moses Lake River Dogs U16 pitcher was dealing from the mound in the 10-zip blowout over Blue Lick from Louisville, Ky. Racking up seven strikeouts and only surrendering five hits over six scoreless innings, Alvarado had his stuff on point.
“Vance threw a great game. He kept the ball down and had command of his fastball. He threw us a lot of ground balls and fliers,” Moses Lake manager Greco Signorelli said.
Alvardo’s intensity on the mound proved to be the rallying point for his fellow teammates after a somewhat sluggish start to the game. A quick pick-off move in the bottom of the first of a napping Blue Lick player at first base ushered in a two-run top of the second for the Dogs, thanks in part to a bloop single in between the right and center fielder by Seth Alvarado that allowed Evan McLean to cross home plate and an RBI single by Josh Williams.
Throughout the game the River Dogs were aided in part by a somewhat shaky outing by Blue Lick pitcher Zach Jones, who struggled to find command of his pitches, resulting in several wild pitches, passed balls and the moving of River Dogs around the bases.
The top of the third was evidence that mistakes often lead to points on the board. The four-run inning saw Vance Alvarado cross home plate after a wild pitch by Jones, a botched double play put runners into scoring position, another wild pitch put runners into scoring position and strategic hitting by Caleb Juarez and Seth Alvarado increase the Dogs’ lead to 6-0.
“They just had fun tonight. They played with a lot of energy and excitement. They had 10 hits and just plain swung the bat well and ran the bases well,” Signorelli stated with a slight chuckle.
Insurance runs throughout the rest of the game proved to be the nail in the coffin for Blue Lick, as the 10-run mercy rule came into effect after the end of the sixth inning and the game was called. Tuesday’s win puts Moses Lake’s record at 2-1, after the squad’s 7-4 victory over Pro Hammer from Tucson, Ariz. on Sunday.
The squad takes on the Vancouver team in the primetime Tuesday night game at Johnson O’Brien Stadium at 8 p.m.
“There is always stuff that we can work on for future games. You know we are a young team, but games like this really show how much these guys have grown and understand how to play at a level like this. There is countless things to improve on, but these kind of wins show them just how far they can go,” Signorelli said.
Richard Byrd can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.