NORTHWEST GLENDALE â€” It didn't take too long for the Hoover High baseball team to show things have changed from last season to this.
Down two runs after the top of the first inning, the Tornadoes roared back with an extra-base hitting display to go with flawless defense.
Ten hits, including three home runs, added up to a 9-4 win against Western Christian on Friday afternoon at Hoover High in pool play of the Arcadia Elks Tournament.
â€œLast year, we would've folded,â€ said Hoover Coach Jim Delzell, whose team lost seven of its first eight games last season en route to a 7-14 record. â€œI attribute [coming back] to experience.
â€œThey didn't get rattled and we came right back and kept swinging from there.â€
The Tornadoes tied the game at 2 in the first and went on to score in every inning thereafter, with the game concluding after the top of the sixth due to impending darkness.
â€œIt was the beginning of the game, we knew we could come back,â€ said Hoover shortstop Sako Chapjian, who went three for three with a walk, three runs batted in, two runs, a triple and a home run. â€œLast year, we were inexperienced, this year ... we know what to do.â€
Chapjian followed Jason Ochart home in the first after a Johnny Barcena double to left-center field to tie the game.
It was the first of five extra-base hits to begin the game for Hoover (1-0).
The Tornadoes went through four Western Christian (0-1) pitchers.
Ochart went the distance for Hoover, allowing four runs, nine hits and striking out seven. He committed two balks in the game â€” four were called total on both teams â€” but was aided by errorless defense. Western Christian, however, committed four errors and was plagued by a plethora of wild pitches.
â€œWe took advantage of [their miscues] and that's what we need to do,â€ Delzell said.
Chapjian took advantage of a 2-1 offering in the second, tripling to deep center. The blast scored Ochart, who had doubled the previous at bat, to put Hoover ahead for good at 3-2.
The biggest blow came in the third, when Oscar Aguirre â€” who went one for one with two walks and two runs batted in â€” belted a solo home run to center, just left of the 390-foot sign.
â€œThat's the longest ball I've seen hit to center in a long time,â€ Delzell said.
Ochart, who went two for four with three runs, pulled a solo shot of his own to left for a 7-3 cushion in the fourth.
A third straight stanza with a long ball came in the fifth when Chapjian went yard, scoring Adam Ochart and Johnny Tapia.
â€œI knew we were a good hitting team,â€ Jason Ochart said. â€œI wasn't expecting three home runs, but I did think we could hit.â€
While Friday was quite a start for Hoover, Delzell and Co. are still well aware that only one game has been played.
â€œIt's still a long way to go,â€ he said.
It continues today at 11 a.m. at Gabrielino in further action in the Arcadia Elks Tournament.