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Weather cost Legionnaires baseball preparation

Weather forced Bonsall High School's scheduled March 4 home baseball game against Crawford to be played March 5 at Crawford, and weather along with Bonsall's winter sports boys teams participating in CIF playoffs has limited the Legionnaires' preparation.

"It's just a slow start this year," said Bonsall coach Danny Mencias. "We barely started practicing," Mencias said prior to the game at Crawford. "This is kind of like our practice. We haven't had any time to practice at all."

The Bonsall roster has 18 players. Ten of those were on the 2023 Legionnaires who finished 8-8 with a 7-3 Patriot League record which was worth third place in the standings. Some of those 2024 players were also on the Bonsall soccer team which reached the CIF Division V-AA quarterfinals or the Legionnaires' basketball team which advanced to the Division V-AA semifinals.

"A lot of our guys just couldn't come out," Mencias said. "I haven't had the opportunity to work with them like I did last year," he said. "The basics aren't even there in part because they haven't had time to play with each other."

If weather permits, the Legionnaires will play 22 regular-season games this year, and 10 of the 15 Division V-AA teams will participate in the CIF playoffs. "We do have more games this year compared to last year," Mencias said.

Bonsall's 2024 season began Feb. 27 at Borrego Springs. The Rams won by a 10-3 margin in the game which was called after 5 1/2 innings. Eight of the Rams' runs were scored in their final two batting frames.

"Looked promising," Mencias said.

Bonsall committed 15 fielding errors, and nine of the Rams' 10 runs were unearned. "They haven't thrown a ball. It's been a crazy beginning of the season," Mencias said.

Although starting pitcher Peyton Yang received the loss, the junior allowed no hits and only one walk in his three innings and all nine Borrego Springs outs were by strikeout. The Rams scored a run apiece in the first and second innings. Bonsall scored in the top of the fourth before the Rams scored three times in the bottom of the inning. Bonsall also scored single runs in the fifth and sixth while Borrego Springs had a five-run fifth inning.

Yang, sophomore Joshua Aguiar, and freshman Rowan Collup each scored a run for Bonsall. Aguiar had two doubles; Yang also doubled, and four other players singled against the Rams. Aguiar, junior Phoenix Young, and sophomore Aiden Lee each drove in a run in the season opener.

A Feb. 29 game against Mountain Empire was Bonsall's home opener. The Redhawks scored the game's first seven runs and returned home with a 9-2 victory. The first Bonsall home run of the season was hit by sophomore Henry Walter.

Crawford took a 1-1 record into the Colts' game against Bonsall

Bonsall High School home games are played at the Pala Sports Complex. A puddle on the field forced postponement of the game scheduled for March 4 in Pala. The contest was rescheduled for the following day and moved to Crawford. That allowed the parents of Bonsall athletic director Andrea Breuninger, who grew up in the 92115 ZIP code but attended Christian High School instead of Crawford, to join Breuninger at the game.

Injuries deprived some Bonsall players of the game at Crawford. "A lot of my players had never played those positions before," Mencias said. "I was moving kids around the whole game."

With one out in the top of the first, Yang hit a single to center field and Young singled to left field. A force out advanced Yang to third and he scored on a wild pitch.

Young was Bonsall's starting pitcher. He struck out the first Crawford batter on a full count, allowed a single to Jesse Altamirano Verdin, and struck out the other two Crawford batters in the bottom of the first. The Colts tied the game in the bottom of the second on a single, a walk, and a fielding error.

Bonsall scored twice in the top of the third, and Crawford had one run in the bottom of that inning. In the fourth inning, Bonsall sent three runners around the bases while Crawford countered with four runs to tie the game at 6-6. Due to sundown, only six innings were played, and a run in the bottom of the sixth gave the Colts a 7-6 victory.

"It was a close game. It could have gone either way," Mencias said, "It was a lot of fun. I really enjoyed it; Cesar was having a blast. I was having a blast."

The players from both teams also appreciated the competition. "Our guys really enjoyed the atmosphere of Crawford and the players," Mencias said. "There was nothing but positive vibes from both teams."

The result gave both teams experience in one-run games. Crawford's only one-run games in 2023 were two losses to High Tech High San Diego while Bonsall's only one-run game in 2023 was a 3-2 loss to High Tech High North County.

"It was a definite win-win," Mencias said. "Everybody had a great game."

The first three Bonsall runs all scored on wild pitches. Walter drove in two of the other runs and Yang had the other run batted in. Yang had hits in all four of his plate appearances including two doubles, and scored twice. Walter had two hits including a double. Young, Walter, sophomore Raul Martinez, and freshman Emilio Leal each scored once. Bonsall freshman Tanner Bundel reached base in all three of his plate appearances although he did not have a hit – or an at-bat – as he walked twice and was hit by a pitch.

"I think this is probably our best-played game maturity-wise," Mencias said.

"It was a win in terms of our team coming together," Mencias said. "The Bonsall team came together. I was proud of them. Even though it was a loss I think it's going to set us up for the rest of the season."

Author Bio

Joe Naiman, Writer

Joe Naiman has been writing for the Village News since 2001


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