YUCAIPA – The Yucaipa High baseball team crept closer to a Citrus Belt League title with a 10-1 victory last week against Citrus Valley. The win came Wednesday, April 13 and was not without controversy.

Two Citrus Valley assistant coaches were ejected in the latter innings as things got heated.

Citrus Valley was not pleased with a run that was disallowed in the top of the fourth inning which kept the score 3-1, nor two safe calls on the basepaths that put Yucaipa runners aboard in the bottom of the fourth. By the time of a dispute over the pitch count later in the game, both Blackhawk assistants were ejected, and the score was lopsided.

“Yucaipa is good,” Citrus Valley coach Jon Austin said. “You’ve got to bear down, and you can’t give them any extra outs, no matter if it’s what we thought were outs or what the umpire called.”

Asked what he thought of the umpiring, Austin said, “No comment.”

The fireworks started in the top of the fourth with Yucaipa leading 3-0. Citrus Valley’s Cy Robertson and Riley Hunsaker led off with back-to-back triples to make it 3-1. Yucaipa pitcher Carter Elliott then walked Jared Snyder. Two outs later, Snyder got into a rundown between first and second and was tagged out. Citrus Valley thought Hunsaker scored first, but the umpire eventually disagreed.

Both Austin and Yucaipa coach Ralph Grajeda descended upon the umps and got into an argument with each other. Thunderbird athletic director Matt Carpenter even entered the fray to make sure things didn’t get out of hand.

Following the game, Austin and Grajeda shook hands and patched things up.

“It was just about who got to the umpire first,” Austin said. “He wanted his say about how the run didn’t count and I wanted my say about how the run did count. We got there at the same time, and it just got heated. But we tried to make it right afterwards. It’s just baseball.”

Said Grajeda, “I went to go talk to the plate ump and (Austin) jumped into my conversation. And then I had every right to ask the base ump if the out was recorded before the run was scored and he kept interrupting me and I said, ‘Get out of my conversation.’ And just so you know, ‘Jon’s a good guy. Jon’s a really good guy. He's just fighting for his team, and I can respect that. I totally respect that.”

Yucaipa scored four runs in the bottom of the fourth to make it 7-1 and blow the game open. Wes Hickey and Owen Egan had run-scoring singles. Luke Scherrer, Daniel Arambula and Gavin Egan also had base hits.

Yucaipa slugger Jacob Reimer added a long, two-run home run in a three-run Yucaipa sixth inning.

Scherrer led the Thunderbirds with three hits and two runs batted in, including a double. It was more heavy hitting for the junior catcher who was named to the all-tournament team a week earlier at the National High School Invitational tournament in Cary, North Carolina.

“Early in the season I was trying to hit home runs,” Scherrer said. “Lately I’ve just been trying to hit the ball as hard as I can right at the pitcher, and it’s helped. I’ve just been staying short (with my swing) and have been a lot more loose with my hands.”

Outside of Citrus Valley’s two-triple fourth inning, Elliott was dominant on the mound for Yucaipa. He allowed just three hits, struck out three and walked one.

“That was great,” Scherrer said of Elliott’s effort. “He gets amped up for sure and he harnessed it perfectly.”

Scherrer thinks Yucaipa benefited greatly from the tourney in North Carolina, which Grajeda called the best prep tourney he’s ever seen.

“To see that kind of competition and succeed like we did really proved to ourselves that we deserve what we have,” Scherrer said.

Robertson, Hunsaker, and Ivan Rodriguez each had one hit for Citrus Valley against Yucaipa.

Citrus Valley (13-7 overall, 6-5 league) defeated Yucaipa (16-4, 10-2) on Friday, April 15. Snyder drove in the winning run in the bottom of the seventh with a single.

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