LA HABRA --The SoCal Shepherds dropped a tight one as they fell by a score of 5-4 to the Inland Valley Pirates.
The two Sunset League teams were even throughout, with the difference being an unearned run.
The Pirates jumped out to an early one nothing lead in the first inning, before the Shepherds answered with two runs of their own in the bottom half courtesy RBI groundouts by Tanner Smith and Tommy Acuna. The Pirates would follow with another run in the top of the second to take back the early lead.
In the bottom of the second inning, the Sheps had a golden opportunity to answer back and retake the lead. After three straight walks with two outs, Sir Gomez struck out Sebastian Dunn with the bases loaded to preserve the Pirate lead and retire the side.
Austin Ruiz would add to the Pirate lead in the top of the third with a two-run single before the Shepherds would start chipping away. Shepherds left fielder Chad Ragland would trim the deficit back down to one with a sacrifice fly. After the Pirates got one back in the fourth, Noah Reitmeyer drove in the final run of the game with an opposite-field home run to right.
The Shepherds' bullpen was the highlight of the day, as they pitched five and a third scoreless innings. Andrew White was the first man out of the pen and went two and a third shutout innings with three strikeouts. Nick Lycett, Josh Ramirez, and Ben Peters would pitch the final three innings combining for four strikeouts over that time.
The Shepherds will look to put all the pieces together on Wednesday as they take on the Solana Beach Redbirds at 5 pm.