MONTROSE — Maybe it was the 9 a.m. first pitch. Maybe the guys just aren't morning people.
Whatever the cause, the Foothill Major All-Star baseball team got off to a slow start against Vaquero on Saturday in the consolation bracket of the District 16 tournament.
Then it woke up in a big way.
Foothill rallied from a three-run deficit to defeat Vaquero, 5-4, at Montrose Community Park and advance to play Jewel City/Jewish War Veterans today at 5:30 p.m. at the same venue.
The Foothill rally started thanks to the big bat of Cole Gabriel. Down, 3-0, Gabriel connected on a two-run home run to straight away center field in the third inning, driving in David Bernal to cut the deficit to 3-2.
"We looked flat the first couple of innings," Foothill Coach Hutch Arzoumanian said. "That home run by Cole really lifted us."
Arzoumanian said that he just asked Gabriel to hit a homer to get things started.
"He actually listened to me for once," Arzoumanian joked.
"I didn't know it was two strikes," Gabriel said of the home run. "I forgot about the two strikes and just saw it down the middle and I just hit it."
Vaquero scored a run in the fourth inning for a 4-2 lead, but Foothill notched three runs in the bottom half of the fourth behind a walk and four singles. The team would not relinquish the 5-4 advantage.
Foothill pitcher Trent Lousararian entered the game with two outs in the second inning and pitched well. He allowed one run on two hits and two walks while striking out three in 4 2/3 innings.
"He pitched a great game," Arzoumanian said. "He did a great job. He did fantastic, I'm so proud of him. You've got to mix pitches up against a team like Vaquero. They're a good team."
Lousararian said he just wanted to make up for his last outing.
"I finally redeemed myself," he said. "The last time I pitched we lost. This time we won."
Lousararian was quick to credit Gabriel's long ball.
"Once he hit that home run, we woke up," he said.
Vaquero scored three runs in the top of the third inning, propelled by a run-scoring double from Eduardo
"We break out pretty early," said Vaquero coach Mickey Moreno. "We've been playing good baseball early. We fade, we cruise, and we let the teams stay in the game, and that's what killed us."
Nathien Rivera walked twice and scored two runs for Vaquero.
Chris Arzoumanian and Bernal each had two hits for Foothill.