Moving On

Bakersfield Gets Pitching, Big Hit Vs. Onondaga

Bakersfield pitcher Matt Miranda delivers to the plate during Game 22 of the Babe Ruth 16-18 World Series on Thursday night at Diethrick Park. P-J photo by Scott Reagle

There is always something extra special about a pitcher who comes with a persona–the way that San Franciso Giants reliever Brian Wilson would don his “fear the beard” attitude when stepping on to the hill to close out a game.

On Thursday night at Diethrick Park, it was maned Bakersfield hurler Matt Miranda who was the star of the show.

Sporting a rayless swath of hair all the way down to the small of his back, Miranda pitched his way through all seven innings while fanning four batters and issuing no walks as the Pacific Southwest representatives earned a 5-1 win over Onondaga in Game 22 of the Babe Ruth 16-18 World Series quarterfinal play.

In other words, forget the beard, “fear the hair.”

“Once he lets that hair down it’s game over and he’s really fun to watch,” said Bakersfield manager Jacob Brum. “Tonight he was a little bit under 80 pitches and he just pitched his butt off and, luckily, we were able to get him some insurance late in the game. They kept us real tight, 2-1, for a really long time, so we manned it up and were able to come out on top.”

Onondaga’s Adam Douglas strokes an RBI double. P-J photo by Scott Reagle

Bakersfield would carry their one-run margin all the way to the bottom half of the sixth inning before a three-run salvo finally offered some breathing room.

With Miranda holding his own on the mound, Kobe Silva and Austin Hubbell cracked singles before Andru Marlon was issued a walk to load the bases.

Up stepped Matteo Valenzuela, who promptly smacked a bases-clearing double to ignite his team’s dugout and earn Bakersfield a 7:30 date tonight with undefeated Alabama.

“You’ve got bases loaded with the right man on time,” said Brum. “(Valenzuela) is a very good kid and he was due for a big hit so I told him to get the front foot down and do what you do and he came through for us. It was a really good inning, kind of sparked us and that is the baseball that we know how to play.”

Miranda may not have had the kind of night that came with eight or nine strikeouts, but what the high school senior was able to do routinely was get Onondaga batters out in front of pitches.

“He kept us off balance, we were out in front early,” said Onondaga manager Mark Kelley. “I thought we were hitting balls right at him, a couple of hard-hit balls early, but, yeah, he mixed it up nice. He did a great job. Four hits is not going to get you through it once you get to this stage.’

The Western New York representatives opted to counter with John Geer on the mound, who worked his way through four innings of six-hit ball.

“We decided to go with John Geer, who is one of our horses, and three days of rest, he’s probably not used to it. I told him I wanted to get as much as we could out of him. That was our plan to get three or four innings out of him and then go to Jed Boyle.”

Boyle would relinquish three hits while striking out two in relief.

The win now means that Bakersfield will look to upset the unbeaten RawDogs in a game that should offer fans plenty of fireworks.

“We’re going to go after them, you know. I think it’s the game that everyone wants to see, so hopefully we give them a run for their money,” said Brum.