LANCASTER — The Desert Christian baseball team was both patient and aggressive at the plate Friday against Boron.
The Knights drew 16 walks, eight with the bases loaded, and had nine hits, eight of which drove in runs, in a 19-5 non-league victory over Boron at Rawley Duntley Park.
“Our bats were alive and we were able to take pitches and draw a lot of walks,” Desert Christian senior Chris Gonzalez said. “Sometimes we’re a little too patient and we’re not ready for our pitch. But as the season’s progressed, we’re getting more aggressive and ready for our pitch.
“It’s just really minimizing how many pitches I’m looking for and maximizing on that pitch. A lot of the time people can get so stressed out with curveball, fastball, changeup and all those pitches. I really just try to key in on one pitch.”
Desert Christian (5-4) showed patience from the start, in the bottom of the first inning, despite trailing Boron (5-2) 1-0.
Gonzalez, a four-year varsity player, started the Knights rolling with a single to lead off the first.
Desert Christian then drew five consecutive walks, including free passes by sophomore Diego Rodriguez, junior Walker Gordon and senior Noah Reynolds to force in runs.
“We have our attentions up and our energy up, which is a good thing. We need to keep it up,” said Rodriguez, a second-year varsity player. “We just played hard.
“For me, you look at a pitch and you know you can swing at it. If you see a pitch, if you know you can’t hit it, just take it. But if it’s 0-2, you know you need to protect, you have to swing for it.”
Junior Daniel Espiritu was hit by a pitch with one out to force in another run, Gonzalez hit an RBI single with two outs and sophomore Isaac Acosta followed with a one-run single.
Desert Christian scored seven runs on three hits, one error and six walks in the first.
“They did very well today,” Desert Christian coach O.J. Gibson said. “I was especially impressed with just keeping their focus after getting all the walks, to take good swings still, because I wanted to make sure they were mentally still there the whole time, every pitch.
“It’s more like I want to preach intensity for every pitch, no matter what the game situation is — if we’re up big or down big. We found ourselves down big against Vasquez. I wanted them to still be intense with every pitch, mentally there, regardless of the situation. I just want consistency.”
Espiritu drove in a run with a single in the second and Rodriguez hit an RBI single in the third, giving the Knights a 9-3 lead.
“We’re doing pretty good,” Rodriguez said. “We just have to keep working and put in the effort.”
Although Boron scored another two runs to cut the deficit to 9-5 in the top of the fourth, Desert Christian answered with 10 runs in the bottom of the fourth.
The Knights sent 16 batters to the plate in the fourth, finishing with four hits, nine walks, including five with the bases loaded, and taking advantage of one error.
Gonzalez hit an RBI triple and drew a bases-loaded walk in the fourth, junior John Henderson hit a one-run double and drew a bases-loaded walk, Rodriguez hit an RBI single and had a one-run walk and Gordon hit a one-run single.
“Walks and errors,” Boron coach Broc Job said. “Today was very uncommon for us. We struggled just with the walks. Overcoming the walks and errors combined really sunk our ship today.
“What I just told them, this is just a non-league game. It doesn’t mean anything in the big picture. We just have to learn from the errors that we made and just move on. Move past it and focus on league. That’s really what the most important thing is. We’ve got a game coming up on Tuesday against Rosamond.
“That’s baseball. You have to move on.”
Three Boron pitchers combined for 16 walks.
Gonzalez gave up five runs on seven hits and two walks in five innings for Desert Christian, striking out seven.
“Not one of my best outings, but as I said it’s a team sport,” Gonzalez said. “John picked me up. Our defense showed up and our bats were there today. A lot of run support is great always. It’s a good feeling as a pitcher.
“It was a great game. Our defense really showed up. John (Henderson) had a great play at second. We have a really young team and new team. They’ve exceeded my expectations for sure. I didn’t really know if we were going to have a team, so for me, this is a good season so far.”
Boron junior Bryson Job reached on an error to lead off the top of the first and scored on a different error to give the Bobcats an early, albeit brief, lead.
Bryson Job also reached on an infield single to lead off the third and scored on a wild pitch, while senior Robert Robson also reached on an infield single and scored on an error. Henderson fielded a grounder to end the inning, as the Bobcats left the bases loaded.
Bryson Job and freshman Braydon Job hit back-to-back RBI singles in the fourth.
Boron and Desert Christian were two of the teams to finish in the four-way tie for the Desert Mountain League title last season, with Vasquez and Mammoth.
Boron started High Desert League play with a 5-2 win over Kern Valley on Tuesday.
Desert Christian will host Trona on Monday.
“We have a sparse league this year, because Mojave didn’t field a team,” Gibson said.
Lone Pine and Mammoth are the only other teams in the Desert Mountain League.
Desert Christian will host Lone Pine on March 26 in the Knights’ league opener.
The Knights will play a doubleheader at Mammoth on April 2, which will likely determine the league championship.
The Knights have six returners out of 13 total players.
“There was actually a time we weren’t sure if we were going to have a program this year,” Gibson said. “This is my first year coaching. I came into it just on an interim basis and ended up taking it over, because I didn’t want it to die. I’m really, really pleased we got 13 out here. They’re committed and having a great time. I’m pumped about it.”