Panthers tamed by Bearcats in Padilla Tournament game

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Panther pitcher Caesar Villalobos at bat. (Andrew Luberda photo)

By Andrew Luberda

Copper Area News

Bearcats left-handed starter Alex Carrera pitched a complete game in 10-2 victory over the Superior Panthers. The Bearcats and Panthers squared off in the Joe S. Padilla Tournament at Florence High School.

The Bearcats offense scored in each of the first three innings, including four runs in the first. Carrera took the mound with a 4-0 lead, which was more than he needed. Pounding the strike zone was a key to his strong performance.

“First pitch strike. I [had to] establish it,” Carrera said. “First pitch strike and do whatever coach told me to.”

Panthers coach Billy Duarte acknowledged Carrera was sharp.

“I have to give [Carrera] credit because he’s a pretty darn good pitcher,” Duarte said.

While Coach Duarte knew the opposing pitcher did well, but he also thought his team’s pitcher, Caesar Villalobos, had a good outing.

“I think he would have done even better if we would’ve cut balls off in the outfield like we are supposed to,” Duarte said.

The Bearcats offense was dominant. Shortstop Dominic Bravo led the attack with two triples in the game.

“Those kids put the bat on the ball today,” he said.

Coach Duarte said it’s early in the season and there is still work to be done, including looking for more pitching.

“I’m trying to find pitching. That’s what I’m trying to do,” he said. “I’m going to have everyone throw and take a look at everybody. I’m just trying to find some people who can eat up innings. That’s basically what we’re going to have to do this year.”

He doesn’t seem as concerned about the team’s hitting. He believes it’s only a matter of time before the Panthers’ bats get hot.

“The sticks will come around when it counts,” he said.

Trailing 8-0 after three innings, Bearcats pitcher Alex Carrera surrendered his first run of the game in the fourth as the Panthers scored on a passed ball.

The Panthers plated their final run of the game as Carrera experienced some trouble in the fifth. The Panthers led off the inning by reaching on an error. The next batter, Caesar Villalobos, reached on a HBP. Following a flyout and strikeout, the Panthers scored their final run of the game after the Bearcats second error of the inning.

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