PASADENA â€” So much for fast starts.
Hoover High shortstop Sako Chapjian homered in the top of the first inning of the Tornadoes' Arcadia Elks Tournament pool play game at La Salle on Tuesday afternoon.
It was his second of the year, his first coming during his team's season opener on Friday, when Hoover exploded for nine runs.
Neither the season opener nor Chapjian's first-inning round tripper have been foreshadowing for the Tornadoes' recent offensive efforts at the plate.
Example enough was Hoover's 8-1 loss to host La Salle.
â€œWe have to be a little more productive offensively, like we were Friday,â€ said Hoover Coach Jim Delzell, whose team has scored just one run in two games since winning 9-4 on Friday against Western Christian. â€œWe're capable.â€
After a 3-0 loss to Alhambra on Saturday, Chapjian's line drive over the right-field fence was no doubt a welcomed sigh of relief. But it would prove to be the final time in the game that a Tornadoes player would venture farther than second base.
Hoover managed just five hits and a walk, with outfielder Adam Ochart going two for three. Ochart advanced to second on a groundout in the top of the second and it would prove to be the final time the Tornadoes got a runner into scoring position.
â€œToday, we got in a hole and their [pitcher] threw a lot of strikes,â€ said Delzell of Lancers starter Michael Palffy. â€œHe worked quick and we didn't make adjustments.â€
Palffy got the win for La Salle (3-0), going five innings, scattering four hits, striking out eight and walking none.
Oscar Aguirre's single in the first was the only time the Tornadoes got multiple hits in an inning.
Tyler Delzell also had a single for Hoover (1-2).
Offensive wasn't Hoover's only ill, however.
Making his first varsity start, Levi Factora gave up four runs in the first inning, creating the aforementioned hole Delzell referred to.
After a 1-2-3 second for Factora, La Salle scored another run in the third and three more in the fourth.
â€œIt was Levi's first start, it was kind of a rude awakening for him,â€ Delzell said. â€œHopefully, he'll learn from it.â€
Chapjian held the Lancers scoreless over the final 2 1/3 innings, battling out of a bases-loaded jam in the sixth.
The lone bright spot was the Hoover defense, which played errorless ball.
Center fielder Jason Ochart made a leaping catch at the fence in the fourth, snaring a home-run ball, while also battling an overgrown pine tree and the outfield valley at the perimeter of the La Salle field.
Second baseman Billy Paulson and Adam Ochart also made nice grabs.
Hoover plays again in the tournament on Thursday against a to-be-determined team.
Once again, the key will be re-energizing a suddenly stagnant offense.
â€œI still think we have the potential,â€ Delzell said.
?GRANT GORDON is the sports editor. He can be reached at (818) 637-3225 or email@example.com.