Tehachapi High’s baseball team bused 115 miles from the mountains in eastern Kern County to play here at Rawhide Ballpark on Monday night.
Redwood’s players came from the attendance area neighboring the home to the Arizona Diamondbacks’ Class-A affiliate.
And that was just the beginning of problems for Tehachapi.
The fifth-seeded Warriors were playing only their second night game of the season – and it proved glaring as they rollerskated on virtually every ball struck in the air – and the Rangers compounded the problem by hammering 14 hits while repeating their Central Section Division II title with a 14-4 victory.
While the third-seeded Rangers (23-8) punished pitchers Sagun Gainey – who had two-hit top-seeded Mt. Whitney 2-0 in the semifinals – and Ryan Hanzel, several of their hits resulted from Tehachapi defenders simply, miserably failing to track the balls in the air.
And the defense eroded early for the Warriors (25-6-1), champions of the South Yosemite League at 13-2.
So bad was the case, Tehachapi coach Chris Olofson removed left fielder Tyler Metzler immediately – as in during the inning – after he misplayed Jake Bower’s two-run double in a seven-run second.
That was one of two innings West Yosemite League runner-up Redwood batted around on a night it received a double, single and four RBIs from Jace Chamberlin; a double, two singles and two RBIs from Parker Cantrell; and a two-run triple from Kameron Trevino.
Bower, a junior right-hander who entered with a 6-0 record and 1.54 earned-run average, benefited from it all, getting the win by pitching the first five innings. Josue Mendivil closed with two innings of one-hit relief.
This was the fifth night game for Redwood, including its third at Rawhide Ballpark.
All of the Rangers’ runs in the second were unearned because of two errors, including a catcher’s interference call on a 2-2 missed swing by Trevino.
Not that Redwood’s bats didn’t ring loudly in the frame, which opened on Cantrell’s drive to the left-field wall.
The inning also included an RBI single by No. 9-hitting Elijah Munoz – a pitch after his foul pop was missed by Metzler – an RBI single by Chris Gonzalez, the Bower double with Metzler assistance, and an opposite-field two-run double to the left-center wall by Chamberlin, one of the section’s most imposing hitters.
The Rangers, coached by Dan Hydash, removed all doubt with a six-run fifth, featuring Cantrell’s two-RBI single, Trevino’s two-run triple and Cole Daniel’s RBI single. Hanzel contributed to the frame with four walks and a hit-by-pitch.
Redwood beat 14th-seeded Sanger 3-2, No. 6 Memorial 5-0 and No. 10 Bakersfield 7-6 to get to the championship game.
Redwood 14, Tehachapi 4
WP: Jake Bower (7-0, 5IP). LP: Sagun Gainey (7-3). T, Gainey 2-4, 2B, 2R; Nash Franko 3-4, 3B, 2RBI. R, Chris Gonzalez 2-3, RBI; Bower 2-5, 2B, 2RBI; Cooper Allen 2-3, 3R; Jace Chamberlin 2-4, 2B, 4RBIs; Parker Cantrell 3-5, 2B, 2RBI; Kameron Trevino 3B, 2RBI, 2R.