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Bears use late-inning ambush to beat Bullard for eleventh straight time

Bears explode for eight runs in the top of the sixth, highlighted by Temo Becerra’s bases loaded triple to beat Knights 9-2.

Buchanan shortstop Temo Becerra turns a double play in the bottom of the sixth in the Bears’ 9-2 win over Bullard. Becerra also hit a bases loaded triple in 8-run sixth. (PHOTO BY RAY GUZMAN PHOTOGRAPHY)

Base-hit. Base-hit. Hit-by-pitch.

With Buchanan trailing 2-1 in the top of the 6th inning and the bases loaded, Temo Becerra sent a ball to the left-center gap, clearing the bases. Bears 4, Knights 2.

Vintage Buchanan baseball then ensued as the Bears rattled off six straight two-out hits to put up an eight-spot in a 9-2 win.

Buchanan is now 2-0 in the Coca-Cola Classic after opening the season with a 14-2 win over Tulare Western. Bullard is now 1-1 after beating Clovis 2-1 Tuesday despite being no-hit.

“We seemed too careful when the game started,” head coach Brad Fontes said. “We’ll never fault aggression and some of that aggression eventually started to come out.”

Bullard starter Nikko Rangel had put together a nice outing – a four-hitter through 5.1 IP – but there wasn’t enough left in the tank for a mid-February start.

In that sixth inning ambush, Buchanan sent 12 batters to the plate and had everything working: swinging bunts, a triple, and a double off the wall.

“I was just looking for a pitch I could handle,” Becerra said of his triple. “I told myself to go up swinging, but I needed to take a deep breath and slow the game down.”

It’s a feeling all too familiar to most opponents. When the Bears start rolling downhill, it’s about impossible to stop.

Singles by Josh Williams and Austin Young got the rally started. After Becerra, Buchanan got hits from Nick Marchini, Corbin Ybarra, Sky Collins, JP Acosta and (again) Josh Williams.

“Nick Marchini is a guy that really helps settle our team,” Fontes said of the senior first baseman. “He puts together good at-bats and plays the game. He can get bunts down or move guys over with his swing.”

Chris Lenocker started the game for Buchanan and went four innings, giving up two first-inning runs. Christian Williams came in relief to pitch three innings and pick up the win in his first varsity outing.

“There was no panic,” Fontes said. “You have a young team and you don’t know how they might react in this type of situation, but they responded.”

Buchanan’s next test will come at home this Saturday against Memorial.

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