Billy Richardson isn't called the ace of the Central Cal Baseball pitching staff.
The right-hander from Fresno certainly gave a pretty fair impersonation of one on Tuesday afternoon, though, when he twirled a three-hitter to help lead Central Cal past the Carson Cardinals 14-3 in an elimination game at the 18-and-under U.S. Amateur Baseball Association (USABA) World Series at Governor's Field.
Richardson didn't blow the ball past anyone, but he only walked two batters and struck out 10 en route to the complete game victory.
"No, he's not our ace, but he's one of our most consistent pitchers," Central Cal manager Terrence Frazier said of Richardson, who was the North Yosemite League Pitcher of the Year as a junior this spring at Fresno power Edison High. "If you need to win a game, he's the guy you want to send out there.
"He doesn't throw real hard, but he moves the ball around and he's sneaky. And the thing about him is that if you make an error behind him, he just shrugs it off and says, 'OK, I'll get the next batter to hit a grounder and we'll get the out.'"
Central Cal, an 11-9 victor over Vacaville later on Tuesday, returns to action tonight with a 7 p.m. contest against Arlington, Texas.
The loss was Carson's second straight in the championship bracket play and knocked the Cardinals out of the tournament.
"We were happy about what we did this week, at least in the round-robin part," said Cardinals coach Blaine Eaton, whose club went 4-1 to win the tournament's Desert Division. "It was good experience for the boys."
Nick Gitthens, an all-conference DH for Carson High School this spring, accounted for two of the Cardinals' three hits. The first was a ground-rule double to straightaway center to lead off the fourth inning, the other a solo home run to right in the sixth. Andrew James accounted for the third Carson hit with a third-inning single.
"Nick had a real good game, both hitting and with his defense," Eaton said of Gitthens.
One bright spot for the Cardinals in the field came in the second inning, when shortstop Carl Winter, James and Gitthens combined on a 6-4-3 double play.
In the seventh, Gitthens came up with a diving stop of a grounder to his left for the second out. Moments earlier, Cardinals catcher Murph Glover had gunned down a runner trying to steal third.
By that time, however, Central Cal had the game well in hand. The Fresno club scored six runs in the second inning, aided by two Cardinals errors and doubles by Justin Crisp, Chris Jones and Kyle Myovich.
Central Cal put the game away with six more runs in the seventh, he big blow coming on Craig Click's three-run homer to left. Cliff Smith, who just completed his sophomore year at Edison, hit a two-run double later in the inning.
In other games:
Vacaville 8, Carson Valley 6
Jordan Brown was 2-for-4 with a double and homer for the Blue Sox as they eliminated the Cobras.
Fresno 11, Vacaville 9
Justin Crisp hit a game-wining home run in the bottom of the sixth as Central Cal came from behind to beat the Blue Sox.
Central Cal takes on Arlington tonight at 7 p.m.
Yosemite 6, Ridgecrest 2
Pitcher Adam Matcham allowed only four hits as the Colts bumped the Desert Dawgs down into the losers' bracket.
The Colts face West Oahu tonight at 7 p.m. for a berth into Thursday's championship game. Meanwhile, the Desert Dawgs face elimination today at 4 p.m. against Triple Play.
WEST OAHU 9, TRIPLE PLAY 3
Dane Marcoulliar banged out three hits and Isaac Harbottle pitched a three-hitter as West Oahu defeated Triple Play to advance into the winners bracket final.
West Oahu scored four runs in the fourth inning to erase a 2-1 deficit and take the lead for good. Sean Palva's two-out double ignited the rally and Joshua Martin belted a two-run double to give West Oahu the lead.
ARLINGTON 8, MAMMOTH 2
Run-scoring hits by Anthony Reese and Anthony Bovilar triggered a three-run fourth inning as Arlington rallied from a 2-1 deficit to win the elimination game.
Bovilar hit 3-for-3 in the game. Chase Huotan also went 2-for-4, including a two-run double in the sixth.