By Annika Bereny
Following an electrifying walk-off victory against the Solano Mudcats yesterday, the Walnut Creek Crawdads proved that the win was far from a one-off as every spot in the lineup scored on Sunday afternoon to deliver a 24-5 win.
The first inning was quiet for both teams’ offenses, as Tyler Wood (UC Davis) recorded his final start of the summer for the Crawdads. He ended the first inning with an exclamation mark though, as Jake Tandy (University of the Pacific) swung and missed on a nasty curveball by Wood.
The Mudcats, however, struck first in the bottom of the second inning after a line drive to center field by Tyler Tobey (Delta College) brought Noah Garcia (University of La Verne) in from second where he had landed after a double.
That lead would not last.
Casey Cummings (University of Texas-Austin) evened the score up in the top of the third, stealing third base as well as home base after a wild throw by Mudcats catcher Nate Schwartz (Cosumnes River College). Ryan Brome (Texas Tech) refused to let Cummings have all the fun though, and promptly stole two bases of his own on another wild pitch. Matt King (University of Texas-San Antonio) knocked in an RBI single to bring Brome, the go ahead run, home and give the Crawdads their first lead of the game.
Hit after hit would soon extend that lead as the Walnut Creek offense became scorching hot. By the end of the third inning, the Crawdads led 7-1. By the end of the 5th it was 16-1.
Matt King went 5 for 5 during his six innings of play today, just a home run short of hitting for the cycle, a feat that would be the second of the summer for the Crawdads. King had been struggling recently but his offensive comeback could not have come at a better time, invigorating the dugout and proving necessary to the win in Vacaville today.
The bats were undoubtedly paramount for Walnut Creek today, but a tough outing for the Solano pitchers played a large role in the large deficit on the scoreboard. 19 walks were given on the day, as well as a number of batters being hit by pitches and even a balk to advance runners around the bases and score.
Tyler Tobey was a singular ray of sunlight in the otherwise unsuccessful Mudcats offense. The shortstop drove in four of the five runs for Solano on Sunday, including a 3-run home run, and scored Solano’s only other run in the bottom of the fifth.
Catcher Ryder Helfrick (Arkansas) recorded the final out in the game after a grueling 3+ hours of play, finishing his first game as a Crawdad with a win. Helfrick is the No. 3 catcher in the class of 2023 who is expected to be drafted into the MLB, a draft which began while he was behind the plate today. He recorded his first hit of the game in the top of the 6th, a stand-up RBI double that extended the Crawdad lead to 18-2. Throughout the first five innings, he had not yet been called out, having been hit by pitches as well as walked up until then.
After successfully taking the series from the Mudcats today, the Crawdads will head back down the road for the series finale against Solano at 4pm Monday afternoon at Monte Vista High School.