King City’s Brycee Blair got the win on the mound and a hit in the March 18 game against Soledad. Blair pitched all seven innings, securing the Mustangs’ 6-5 win. (Jason Gallardo/Staff)

SALINAS VALLEY — In what has been the top baseball rivalry for over a decade in South Monterey County, the Soledad Aztecs and King City Mustangs split their season series last week. 

After dropping their game against Liberty Union, the Aztecs had lost three of their last four games and needed to get back on track with the Mustangs coming into town. The Aztecs have beaten the Mustangs in their previous three matchups.

In game one of their two-game series, Soledad dominated, defeating King City by 10 runs in five innings. Oregon State-bound Eric Segura had the Mustang batters guessing as he struck out eight of them and pitched his first no-hitter as an Aztec.

“I felt good,” Segura said. “Other than a couple of errors, everything was good.”

Soledad’s Eric Segura throws his first no-hitter as an Aztec pitcher against the King City Mustangs on March 16. (Jason Gallardo/Staff)

Helping out offensively for Soledad were Jorge Olivarria and Noah Fregoso, each having a couple of hits. In the middle of the line for the Aztecs was Jeremie Banuelos, who has the most power on the team and hit a three-run home run in the March 16 blowout.

“I just try to keep it simple,” Banuelos said. “Just keep the ball to the barrel and do what I do.” 

Banuelos leads the Aztecs in home runs and RBIs through nine games.

With game two being played in King City, the Mustangs were looking to forget the last game and hoped their home field would bring them luck against the Aztecs.

“Hats off to (Soledad’s Segura),” said King City Head Baseball Coach Jake Stephen. “We faced a really good pitcher, and he threw well.”

The Mustangs, who wouldn’t go hitless for a straight game, scored the first runs of the March 18 matchup to take a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the third.

“We just got back to the basics,” Stephen said. “The kids responded well to that. We told them all week that if you put the ball in play, good things happen.”

Soledad and King City split their season series last week. (Jason Gallardo/Staff)

Soledad was able to produce enough runs to get back in the game, as they came back from two runs down to take the lead in the top of the fifth.

The star of the game was Jackson Villanueva, who had four RBIs that gave King City a 6-3 lead going into the seventh.

Banuelos also got a hit that brought two runners in for Soledad, but that wasn’t enough.

King City pitcher Brycee Blair pitched all seven innings and got the final out to secure the 6-5 win for the Mustangs.

Next, King City will host North County on Tuesday and Soledad will travel to Independent High School on Monday, after press deadlines.

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Jason Gallardo is the sports reporter for King City Rustler and Salinas Valley Tribune, a unified publication of Greenfield News, Soledad Bee and Gonzales Tribune. He covers high school sports for South Monterey County.


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