Jeff Boulware (Sonoma State)
In their first doubleheader in the 2012 season, the Neptune Beach Pearl took on the Fontanetti Athletics June 9th, scoring 36 runs between the two games to earn 18-2 and 18-10 victories in San Jose.
Infielder Jeff Boulware (Sonoma State), who played both second base and shortstop in the two games, hit the Pearl’s first grand slam in history in the top of the sixth inning in the first game. “I kind of went up at the plate looking for a good pitch to hit and I got one,” Boulware said. His grand slam wasn’t his only high-scoring play of the day, however; he also hit an RBI double late in the second game to help contribute offensively to both victories.
As the numbers would indicate, the entire team was seeing the ball well and putting runs on the board seemed like a no-brainer. “Our top of the order is so solid,” Boulware said. “Batting down the order; when we start scoring runs and guys are hitting really well, it’s contagious.” Right fielder Gary Detwiler (Sonoma State) hit a bases-clearing double shortly before first baseman Blake Bass (Texas Tech) drove in two more in the first game. The start of the second game saw designated hitter Oscar Aguirre (Florida International) score two with an RBI double and third baseman hit a two-run home run, his third home run this season, later adding in an RBI double. Bass had another 2-RBI double later in the game, as well as a 2-RBI single, and Detwiler, Aguirre, left fielder DonAndre Clark (Saint Mary’s CA) and center fielder Roger Boulden (Chico State) combined in the sixth to score five, one of the most productive innings of the day.
With the pitching staff on the mound again joining together to make two solid outings, the defense didn’t have a hard time succeeding during the day. “Our pitchers were getting it done, throwing good pitches, getting guys swinging early in the counts so we’re not sitting out on the field too long,” Boulware said. Chris Garrison (Kentucky), Collin Monagle (Sierra College), Matt Evanoff (Cal), Kyle Hassna (San Jose State), Michael Casper (Princeton) and Daniel Hancock (South Florida) combined to throw a solid 18 innings to help lead the Pearl to victory.
After defeating the Fontanetti Athletics by scoring 36 runs in two games the day before, the Neptune Beach Pearl took the field in San Jose June 11th and dominated the Athletics once again by a score of 12-4.
The Pearl got off to an early lead off the bat of right fielder Gary Detwiler who blasted his first home run of the season, giving the team a 2-0 lead. Offensively, the team dominated, thanks to the help of some poor pitching from the Athletics. “The pitchers started leaving balls up in the zone, making mistakes and our team capitalized on it and hit well again,” Boulware said. Ryan Millison (Sierra College), Will Anderson (Fresno State), Hancock and Jordan Louie (Oregon State) put together nine strong innings, only allowing four runs, while the offense scored 12 of their own.
Three straight offensively-dominating victories for the Pearl can only help the team as they continue through this season. “So as far as facing teams, we know that we’re not going to score 18 runs but we have the caliber of the hitters to do damage through the whole order,” Boulware said. “Each and every guy in the order can step up when he needs to and it gives us a confidence and a freedom to play relaxed and have fun as a team.” That focused but fun attitude to something that has helped the Pearl on their six game winning streak and looks to be an advantage as play continues.
The Pearl ended up sweeping the season series against the Athletics 3-0, and the aggregate score finished with an impressive 48-16. They now sit alone at the top of the Far West League standings with a 5-0 league record and 6-1 overall. They return to action June 13th at 1 pm against APS in Alameda.