The Desert Sox have struggled in the past few weeks and were searching for a win during a three-game series against the Yakima Valley Peppers starting July 8, but a tough team limited the Sox to 10 runs as the Peppers earned a sweep. Othello head coach Larry Gonzalez said his team knew going in that YV would be tough opponents and had prepared for them, but hitting and pitching woes held them back once more. "Yakima's really well-coached, they do things well and you're going to have to play pretty good any time you face a team like that," he said. "For the most part, we weren't able to do that." The Sox opened the series with a home doubleheader July 8 and dropped game one 9-2. YV opened up the first inning with a run, but Othello answered back in their side after a pair of singles from Alix Garcia and Justin Krebs worked to bring in Randy Gomez who got on base with a hit of his own. The Peppers scored once again in the second, but a double by Garcia drove in teammate Asaph Garza who singled as the leadoff hitter in the third inning. This was the final score of game one and after that, the Sox had troubles leaving runners stranded on base. "We weren't consistent on the mound and hitting-wise, we could not convert the runners in scoring position," Gonzalez said. In game two, YV jumped on Othello's bullpen to get some hits and some walks on their way to an 11-2 win. Gonzalez made some pitching changes, but nobody could seem to find the right stuff to stop the Peppers and give the offense a chance for a comeback. "To be able to get out of that situation we have to have somebody we can go to who can throw strikes and right now at this point, we don't have that person," he said. "We play these games during the summer to find out who and or what we're going to have during the school season ... and we are still working on that." The following day at the YV field, the Sox were able to double the amount of runs they scored at home, but it still wasn't enough as the Peppers poured it on with their batting to get a 16-6 win and the sweep.
Sox go 2-2 at East Valley Red Hawk Baseball Classic After a long winless stretch, the Desert Sox headed to East Valley looking to find a spark and some wins starting Friday, July 12. It took them two more losses, but the Sox were able to pull it together to close out their final two games at the tournament with wins. The opener saw Othello take on Mt. Rainier, who defeated the Sox 8-2 after some early pitching struggles threw their game plan off track. "Again, our pitcher couldn't throw strikes early so I had to make the pitching change early in that game," Gonzalez said. "The guy who followed the starter was able to throw strikes or get batters to fly out or groundout." The plan paid off for a bit, but the change to the batting lineup took Othello out of their rhythm and they couldn't recover in time to mount a rally. Later Friday night, the Sox had trouble with walking the Walla Walla Cubs but put together a better offensive performance than they had in the previous game. Othello lost 7-6. "We were walking too many batters," Gonzalez said. "At the same time, the situations were right, but offensively, we didn't come through with that hit to be able to score those extra runs we needed." Saturday, the Sox turned things around against a young West Valley club to score in the double digits against some weaker pitchers on the way to an 18-2 win. "We turned things around," Gonzalez said. "We were able to put some hits together, score some runs and took advantage of their pitching." Gonzalez said his team's defense shouldered plenty of the burden on the way to their first win at the tournament. The Sox closed out the tournament taking on the Spokane 49ers and played solid on their way to an 8-2 win. Gonzalez said Othello's fielding was precise and the bullpen was able to turn things around to end the weekend in a good way. "You always want to end on a good note and we were able to do that," he said. "They had some hitting, but we were able to play some defense and our pitcher threw some strikes." This week, Othello opened another series at Wenatchee Monday, July 15, but results weren't available as of press time. They closed that series out Tuesday at home. Prior to the games, Gonzalez said if the Sox manage to get three wins there, they'd still have a chance to make playoffs. "If we can play Othello baseball and our pitchers minimize their mistakes ... we still have a chance," he said.
Desert Sox 14-U plays in state tournament in Port Angeles The younger group of Desert Sox headed to Port Angeles to play in the Junior Babe Ruth state tournament starting July 9 and faced some of the toughest teams in the state. Coach Abel Gomez said it was a good experience for this young group of kids just to play against the talent levels offered there even though they couldn't get a win and finished 0-4. "It was the first time these kids were up at a state tournament," Gomez said. "It's an experience the kids are not ever going to forget." The kids opened up the tournament against the Northwest Bandits out of Seattle. They kept up with them, keeping the scored tied 2-2, but a big offensive burst by the Bandits game them the 12-2 win over Othello. They went on to become the champions of the tournament. Two more tough teams lay in Othello's bracket. After a 9-1 loss to Mt. Rainier in game two, the Sox battled with Kitsap in game three. "Kitsap was a very hard team," Gomez said. "That was when our bats finally woke up." After only scoring three runs over the first two games, the Sox put 13 on the board and had a back-and-forth battle that eventually tipped in Kitsap's favor as they walked away with an 18-13 win over Othello. "Every time we gave up two or three runs, we could only come up with two - we were always short," Gomez said. The Sox closed out the week against Burlington falling 9-2. Gomez said the kids fought really hard to prevent getting 10-runned a second time. "The last two games, I think, were our best," he said. "The kids just kept pushing and pushing ... we didn't see any quit from the team and they kept on playing." With the losses at Port Angeles, Othello's hopes of qualifying for the World Series up in Moses Lake in August were ended, but Gomez said the kids deserve respect for playing tough against nine of the best teams in the state.