Pomona tops Gene Taylor’s in state championship
Gene Taylor’s baseball team fell short in its pursuit of its second American Legion A State Tournament title in three years on Sunday afternoon.
Gene Taylor’s had defeated Brighton, a team which had swept their regular season series, to reach the championship.
But Gene Taylor’s ran out of steam against the Pomona Panthers, a team it split a two game series with earlier in the year, losing 11-6.
Coach Dave Jahnke said his team played nervous in the first inning, and after giving up four runs, the players couldn’t recover.
“(Pomona) broke our backs a little bit in the first inning,” Jahnke said. “Some guys handled it better than others.”
Jahnke said his players had never been in such a high pressure situation, and despite a strong effort and a decent hitting performance, mistakes ended up costing them.
Gene Taylor’s had five errors, including two in the first inning.
On offense, it was a struggle to score runs. Despite getting 12 hits, including three from Zane Abeyta and Troy Levinson, Gene Taylor’s failed to come up with hits in big situations. It stranded runners multiple times, leaving valuable runs on the basepaths.
According to Jahnke, his team was hurt by several double plays that took them out of run-scoring situations.
When Pomona and Gene Taylor’s met at Canyon View Park in June, both games were close, with Gene Taylor’s taking the first 4-0, and Pomona winning the second 6-4.
This time, however, Gene Taylor’s faced some players that they weren’t expecting.
“They had some different guys that we didn’t see earlier in the year,” Jahnke said. They are just a solid team playing good baseball.”
Among those was Jake Walker who had two hits, two runs and two RBI for Pomona.
Gene Taylor’s ended its season on a disappointing note, but Jahnke was proud of his players’ overall effort. The team won 31 games this season, the most since the program was rebuilt in 2007.