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June 14, 2021

Baseball | Salinas Valley teams battle for wins

SALINAS VALLEY — Baseball action continued for Salinas Valley teams as all four high schools were in action against other Monterey County teams.

Gonzales, Soledad, Greenfield and King City have just two games left on the regular season.

Soledad Aztecs came back from a disappointing loss to San Benito and won three straight contests last week, edging the Pacific Grove Breakers, 6-5, crushing the North Monterey County Condors, 14-4, and completing the week with a 4-3 victory over the Carmel Padres.

At home on May 17, Eric Segura had three hits, Jeremie Banuelos had two hits and Jorge Olivarra added a homerun in the fifth inning, while freshman Andrew Nichols earned the win on the mound against the Breakers.

Olivarra scored three runs and had two hits in Soledad’s win over the visiting Condors. Fabian Cabrera and Jordan Reyes added two hits apiece for the Aztecs.

“It (Olivarra’s homerun) turned out to be the winning run,” said Soledad head coach Damian Ryan. “We played really well up to the last inning. The seventh inning seems to give us a lot of trouble as we have lost four games with a lead in the last inning. Fortunately for us, I think all the losses in the past have paid off, and we are able to close this one out.”

Soledad’s Eric Segura (#16) had three hits for the Aztecs in a game last Monday with the visiting Pacific Grove Breakers. Soledad defeated Pacific Grove, 6-5. (Michael Ramirez/Staff)

Last Wednesday against North County, Soledad’s Andres Mora got the win and Jesse Farfan shut down the Condors the rest of the way. Jordan Reyes led the way with a 2 x 2 day and three RBIs and scored two runs. Olivarra was 2 x 3 with four runs scored on the day as well. Cabrera was 2 x 2 and had three stolen bases. Christian Camacho also added a late homerun.

“We expected to keep the ball rolling and we expected to win,” Ryan said. “It was nice to come out and do all the things that we work on in practice and get the outcome we are looking for.”

At Carmel last Friday, Segura took to the mound and struck out six to earn the pitching win and added an RBI for the Aztecs. Cabrera and Olivarra contributed with two hits to secure the win over the rival Padres. The big hit came from Johnathan Carrillo, who was able to get a single to put the Aztecs ahead for good.

“This was one of those games where you certainly don’t play up to your abilities on the plate or on the field, but you get the win,” Ryan said. “I always believed that is a sign of a good team. There were multiple instances this year where we played really well and lost. Sometimes it’s great to pull one out when all things aren’t clicking. I’m very proud of my team.”

King City Mustangs finished the week with two wins, beating the host Greenfield Bruins, 2-1, and whipping the Condors, 11-1.

“Elijah Clavijo pitched a complete game and was lights out and was in total control from the start to the end,” said King City head coach Lorenzo Espino. “It was a well-played game and we couldn’t have asked for anything different.”

Last Thursday against North County, John Michael Soto pitched five innings and struck out five to earn the pitching win. Ryland Hindersheid pitched the last two innings for the Mustangs.

“We played good baseball, with solid defense, pitching, and our offense was on,” Espino said. “We scored six runs in the first inning. Jonah Mendez continued his hot hitting, along with Eli Clavijo and Manuel Ochoa. Sam Umbarger had some nice catches in left field and Levi Hood had two hits and three RBIs.”

Soto reached base in the bottom of the seventh and scored on a single from Mitch Slama for the game-winning run against Greenfield. Daniel Pantoja had the only Bruins hit and Manuel Gutierrez took the loss after surrendering five hits and two runs.

In their first game of the week, the Greenfield Bruins were beaten 7-3 against Gonzales. The game was tied at 2-2 after the first inning, but Gonzales took a 4-2 lead in the bottom of the fourth and padded the lead with a three-run fifth inning. The Bruins scored one last run in the sixth.

Nate Dixon earned the win for Gonzales and finished with five strikeouts and Alejandro Gutierrez took the loss for Greenfield. Gonzales hammered the ball as Fidel Gudino, Gabe Mendez and Adrian Zavala hit doubles. Valdez smashed a triple for the Spartans. Jonathan Lopez led Greenfield with three hits.

In games this week, King City played Greenfield on Tuesday and traveled Wednesday to play North Monterey County in Castroville; Soledad played Palma on Monday and will host San Benito on Friday; and Gonzales played at Stevenson on Tuesday and hosted North County on Thursday.

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