Sometimes the biggest lessons come from losing.
Shadow Ridge’s baseball team hopes to apply what it learned on Monday as it looks to make a run for the school’s first playoff appearance.
The Mustangs opened up a 6-0 lead but couldn’t hold on as they fell 11-6 to Horizon (Calif.) in the Blazer Spring Bash at Sierra Vista.
“We have to learn how to finish games and battle to the last out,” Shadow Ridge coach Frank Tousa said.
The Mustangs (12-8) started strong, plating a run in the top of the first on an RBI single by Bruce Butler, then batting around and scoring four more runs in the second.
Josh Roelofs had an RBI double, and Troy Williams and Butler had RBI singles in the second.
Danny Turnbull’s RBI single in the third made it 6-0 before the Panthers mounted their comeback.
Horizon scored two in the third, then scored four runs in the fourth to tie the game.
Shadow Ridge’s offense, meanwhile, went dormant. The Mustangs had baserunners in each of the next four innings but couldn’t push across a run.
“It was not taking advantage of opportunities we had to score,” Tousa said.
“We got complacent.”
The Panthers took the lead with a five-run sixth, highlighted by Zach Moran’s three-run triple.
While the loss wasn’t pleasant, Tousa said this spring break week is all about getting ready for the rest of Northwest League play.
The Mustangs are in a three-way tie for fifth place in the Northwest at 5-5, just a half-game behind fourth-place Legacy. The top four teams advance to the playoffs.
“This tournament is a learning experience to help us with our division,” Tousa said. “Hopefully we can learn from games like this and take it into the last two weeks of the season.”
Horizon’s Spencer Moran was 3-for-3 with two runs and two RBIs, and Gabe Saquilon went 2-for-3 with a homer and two RBIs for the Panthers.
Butler was 3-for-4, and Roelofs, Turnbull and Williams each went 2-for-4 for Shadow Ridge, which faces Centennial, Palo Verde and Arbor View when league play resumes next week.
Centennial is second in the league at 8-3, and Arbor View and Palo Verde are tied with the Mustangs at 5-5.
“We’ve never made the playoffs in the history of Shadow Ridge, so that’s one of our goals to try to do that,” Tousa said. “Our destiny is in our own hands right now.”