The Newbury Park High baseball team dug itself in a little too deep Wednesday in a Marmonte League opener against visiting Camarillo, scoring six runs in the seventh inning before losing, 9-7.
The Panthers trailed, 9-0, after 5 1/2 innings and left Coach Curtis Scott shaking his head.
"You can't expect to score nine runs in one inning," Scott said. "We needed to get two or three here and there. But at least we stayed in the game when we could have given up and lost, 9-0 or 9-1."
The game's six home runs figured prominently, especially the two by Camarillo catcher Joe Yingling, who hit line drives over the fence in the first and third innings.
Yingling's first shot produced a 3-0 lead by driving in Justin Collins and Jay Caligiuri, who each walked to lead off the game against Ryan Ayers (0-1).
In the third, Caligiuri led off with a double and Yingling followed with another home run, his third of the season. The Scorpions (5-1) went on to score four more runs in the inning and chased Ayers, who allowed six earned runs, struck out one, walked two and hit a batter in 2 1/3 innings.
Junior left-hander Tyler Johnson relieved Ayers and put a stop to things by allowing no runs, striking out nine and walking one in the final 4 2/3 innings.
Johnson's performance allowed the Panthers (4-3) to mount their comeback, which began when Joey Hamer hit his third home run in the sixth to cut the deficit to 9-1.
In the seventh, Camarillo starter Geoff Abbott (2-0) surrendered leadoff doubles to Josh Block and Daniel Greene, making the score 9-2. Barry Tolli reached first on a one-out error and Jake Farrel followed with a three-run home run, his fourth, to pull the Panthers within 9-5.
Abbott was relieved by Andy Alstot, but the next two batters, Hamer and Ayers, also hit home runs to narrow the gap to 9-7.
Anthony Foli lined out to second and Johnson popped out to shortstop to end the game.
"This is a young team and we need to learn the game is not over in the third inning," Camarillo Coach Scott Cline said. "Geoff Abbott got tired. He has a bunch of off-speed pitches and he started getting them up. I probably got him out of there one pitch too late for his [earned-run average] but the ERA doesn't matter--wins and losses do."
Abbott allowed five runs, four earned, and struck out five and walked one in 6 1/3 innings.
His outing impressed Yingling, who will be the Scorpions' top pitcher in addition to being one of the region's best catchers.
"I'm going to do most of the pitching but some of the other guys have to step up when I'm behind the dish," Yingling said. "[Abbott] throws a lot of strikes and you can win a lot of games with someone like that."