ATWATER — It must be hard for Buhach Colony High baseball coach Greg Wakefield to hide a smile every time he makes out his lineup card on the days Daulton Jefferies is pitching.
The Cal-bound right-hander was too much for Golden Valley on Wednesday afternoon as he struck out 13 hitters on his way to a one-hit shutout in a 10-0 win for the Thunder (11-8, 6-1 Central California Conference.
The game was stopped after six innings because of the 10-run mercy rule.
"It's a pleasure to have him out there," Wakefield said. "I know every time he takes the mound we're going to have a shot to win.
"He did what he does. He threw strikes with all his pitches. He's as tough as anyone around here. I'm glad he's on our side."
The Cougars (7-12, 1-6 CCC) were only able to put six balls in play with Spencer Vierra's second-inning single keeping Jefferies from throwing his second no-hitter this season.
"We saw some pitchers who are going to college as pitchers down South and he's as good as anybody we've faced this year," Golden Valley coach Scott Solis said. "He's able to throw his breaking pitches for strikes. That's pretty tough."
The Thunder offense gave Jefferies a big lead to work with early in the game, scoring three runs in the first inning and another three in the second.
The top three hitters (Jefferies, Josh Ramos and Brandon Young) combined to go 10 for 12 at the plate with eight runs and five RBIs.
"They had really good, solid at-bats," Wakefield said. "It was good technique, good bunts and a nice job of executing on hit-and-runs. All three of them had hit-and-run plays or bunts."
Jefferies led off the game with a double to left and moved up to third base on a bunt single by Ramos.
Young singled in Jefferies for the first run and Kaden Verdin added a two-run double later in the inning to give the Thunder a 3-0 lead against Golden Valley starter Alec McAuley.
Ramos highlighted Buhach Colony's three-run second inning with a two-run single.
"When we can bunt and use the hit and run, it confuses the defense," said Young, who went 4 for 4 with three RBIs. "When they don't know what to do is helps us get easy free bases."
Jefferies struck out the side in order in the first, fifth and sixth innings. He now has 79 strikeouts in 51 innings pitched and improved to to 6-1 with a 0.82 ERA.