Zepeda's strong game but missed chances in 10-2 los

Jade Zepeda appears to have his eyes closed leaving the dugout to take the mound for the Bulldogs in a 10-2 loss to Port Charlotte. Zepeda wasn’t sleep-walking, however, striking out seven in 4 1/3 innings and having three of DeSoto’s five hits.

Sometimes the game of baseball just isn’t fair. Jade Zepeda is proof of that. The hard-throwing righthander had a good outing on the mound for the Bulldogs last week in the 10-2 loss to Port Charlotte.

Zepeda’s pitch count was low—seven in the first and 11 in the second. The senior struck out seven in just 4 1/3 innings and allowed three hits. Two of those were infield singles.

But a two-out throwing error on a routine ground ball kept the Pirates third inning alive. The next batter drove a ball deep to right for a stand-up triple and knocked in the run to tie the game. The Pirates took the lead when the next batter had an infield single.

After striking out the leadoff hitter in the fifth, Zepeda gave up a walk, which was followed by a single and double and then an exit from the mound.

“I felt real strong when I left the game and was hoping I could have stayed on the mound,” said Zepeda.

Ethan Underwood took the hill for DeSoto and was greeted rudely, as the Pirates sent nine men to the plate and picked up four runs to take a 6-1 lead. Port Charlotte added four more in the seventh stanza to ice the game.

The Bulldogs had opportunities to take the lead and build upon it but failed to take advantage of their opportunities. The Bulldogs scored in the first, as Pirate starting pitcher Mitchell Derocher had trouble finding the plate. A Zepeda single along with three walks forced in a run.

DeSoto couldn’t take advantage of the bases loaded, no-out situation—the next two batters never lifted their bats off their shoulders and were called out on strikes. A pop-up to Derocher ended the inning.

Danny Shea reached second on a two-out error by the third baseman in the second inning. Zepeda followed with a base knock, but the speedy Shea was gunned down at the plate to end the inning.

Logan Adams was hit by the pitch to open the third. He represented the tying run, moving to third on Cody Burton’s hit. With runners on the corners, the next two hitters hit short fly balls to put an end to the Bulldog threat.

Garrett Leath opened the fourth with a base hit and CJ Nelson drew a free pass. Shea sacrificed both runners into scoring position. For the second straight at-bat a runner was gunned down at the plate on a ball hit by Zepeda. His slow roller to third was fielded and with the speedy Zepeda looking like he was going to get another hit, the third baseman threw to the plate to get Leath trying to score.

The next eight DeSoto hitters went out easily, as four of them struck out and nobody got the ball out of the infield. The Bulldogs got a garbage run in the seventh on a sacrifice fly by Burton, scoring Zepeda who had opened the inning with his third hit of the game. The Bulldogs had just five hits, with Zepeda getting three of them and Burton and Leath getting the other two.

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