DESERT HOT SPRINGS
What an eventful day for Shadow Hills High School shortstop Gabe Lopez. It couldn’t have started better, but couldn’t have ended on a worse note as the Knights easily handled the Desert Hot Springs baseball team 10-1 on Wednesday.
The leadoff hitter singled and scored in the first inning on his way to a 4-for-5 day at the plate, with a home run, a triple, two singles, two RBIs and four runs scored. He even got aboard on his last at-bat in the seventh inning, when he reached on a throwing error by the shortstop. But just before he got to first, he pulled up lame with a groin pull that kept him on the ground for minutes and forced him to be helped off the field.
“It was a good game for me. I got hot finally. I was in a little slump and I came out of it the last couple of days and I got hot today. It was a good day to get hot, except I got hurt,” said Lopez, a senior. “I was running down to first base and I just felt like a pop in my groin and it was bad, it hurt, it hurts bad.
He added, however, that he expects to return again this season.
“Even if it’s not 100 percent, it’s my senior year, so I got to play,” Lopez said.
The injury caused an unusual situation as Shadow Hills head coach Teg Diffey had already used all his players and Lopez was unable to continue playing. So Lopez was called out and had his spot come up to bat again, an out would have been recorded each time.
“I emptied the bench the inning before so we had no subs,” Diffey said. “But luckily it was late in the game, we emptied the bench to get guys some game time, and we had to finish the game with eight (players in the lineup). It’s unfortunate because (Lopez) really came alive.”
Lopez scored the Knights’ second run of the day in the third inning when he ran out a ground ball to shortstop, then scored on John Uselton’s single.
He hit his solo shot to left field against Desert Hot Springs starter Francisco Morales to lead off the fifth, then he laced a triple to right center in the sixth inning that drove in Trevor Dunn.
The rest of the Knights didn’t join the party until the sixth inning, when pinch hitter Andrew Senk led off the inning with a triple. He came around on a wild pitch, Dunn scored on Lopez’s triple and Lopez scored on an error by second baseman Dominic Ermoian.
After chasing Morales in the sixth, the Knights came back for more in the seventh, adding four more runs due to an error-filled final inning for the Golden Eagles.
Tyson Miller got the complete-game victory for Shadow Hills, striking out nine Eagles along the way.
“We were a little overmatched. Miller threw real well. We had our guy (Morales) that kept us in the game 3-1 until the (sixth) inning, and then we got some other arms in that need some work,” Desert Hot Springs first-year head coach Dave Farris said. “We’re a young program that’s growing right now, and we had a couple chances to get back in the game, but (Miller) threw real well and that’s a good team for a reason.”
Shadow Hills (7-6, 3-1, De Anza) plays Friday at Twentynine Palms at 3:30 p.m. Desert Hot Springs (3-9, 1-3) hosts Desert Mirage at 3:30 p.m. on Friday.