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LaBar, Del Oro enjoy Raley Field game despite 8-2 loss to Del Campo

By: Trevor Horn / Special to the Journal
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WEST SACRAMENTO – Playing under the lights at Raley Field is a great chance for high school baseball players from the greater Sacramento area to find out what it is like to play on the same grass as the professionals.

But with that excitement comes the jitters and a little bit of getting too pumped up on the big stage.

Just ask Del Oro senior Zach LaBar.

As the quarterback for the Golden Eagles, LaBar has seen his share of bright lights and tense situations but it was a different story on the diamond Thursday night as Del Oro lost to Del Campo 8-2 in a non-league game at Raley Field, home of the Oakland Athletics Triple-A affiliate, on Thursday evening.

After falling into an 8-0 hole, LaBar came to the plate in the sixth inning for Del Oro (1-3) with the bases loaded and two outs.

Already star struck from the scenery, the bright lights and the memories of being a fan as a kid watching the pros play, LaBar used a little mind control to ease the nerves.

LaBar said he starting singing “Day and Night” from Kid Cudi to himself to calm down.

“It is a matter of staying calm,” LaBar said. “... I was actually singing(the) song to myself when I was batting just to calm down. It just worked out and I got a couple of RBIs.”

LaBar hit a two-run single up the middle to score the only runs of the game for Del Oro.

Despite the loss, the Del Oro players like LaBar have fond memories of being a kid in the stands.

“I remember once was eight and I was down on the grass and I came for my birthday and my mom got my name up on the jumbotron and it said happy birthday,” LaBar said. “So I will remember that forever, it was a good moment.”

First-year head coach Jeff Dietrich also said the chance for his players to make their own memories at Raley Field was exciting and something the players and coaches will remember.

“I was having a blast,” Dietrich said. “We have a positive culture and a positive environment in the baseball program.”

Starting pitcher Keith Heyer, coming off a no hitter in his first outing of the season, held a solid Del Campo lineup in check and struck out four batters in the first three innings. But a costly throwing error on an infield single resulted in two unearned runs for Del Campo in the second inning.

“We didn’t execute defensively tonight,” Dietrich said.

For LaBar, the chance to play under the lights was exciting as it was eye opening.

“It was really fun,” he said. “The only negative was being tense as a team. We just need to get used to the environment if we are going to be a winning team.”