ATWATER — The extra few days of rest did Daulton Jefferies good.
Buhach Colony baseball coach Greg Wakefield opted to push back his ace's start by two days after Jefferies' arm was a little sore following his last start.
It worked. All Jefferies did was strike out 14 hitters on his way to a two-hit shutout in the Thunder's 3-0 win over Pitman on Friday.
"I felt a lot better," Jefferies said. "My fastball had a little more zip on it and my curveball and changeup were working pretty good."
With Jordan Gonzalez getting the start on the mound for Pitman, both teams knew runs wouldn't come easy.
Buhach Colony (14-10 overall, 7-5 Central California Conference) gave Jefferies all the run support he would need in the bottom of the third inning.
With two outs, the left-handed hitting Brandon Young drove a Gonzalez fastball to left field for a triple that plated Josh Ramos for the first run in the game. Young eventually came in to score on a wild pitch to give the Thunder a 2-0 lead.
"He's really been consistent for us and he's gotten better every week," Wakefield said. "He's one guy in our lineup that I know will give us a good at-bat, especially with guys on base."
Jefferies never seemed to be in trouble. Whenever he needed a big out he was able to get a strikeout.
He recorded at least one punch out in every inning.
"Once he got a rhythm going, that's the Daulton you've seen the last two years," Wakefield said. "It's really tough to sit on any pitch. He'll throw his fastball to both sides of the plate. He'll throw his curveball or changeup on any count.
"He really breaks down hitters."
Nobody knows it more than the Pride (12-10-1, 6-6).
In his two starts against Pitman, Jefferies has given up just six hits and three runs, while striking out 27 hitters in 14 innings.
"I've been playing against Jordan Gonzalez my whole life," Jefferies said. "We have fun competing against each other. When we get each other out we'll smile at each other."
The win gives Buhach Colony sole possession of second place, one game ahead of Pitman and Atwater with three games left in the regular season. The conference will send three teams to the playoffs.
"Every game gets a little bit bigger as we get closer to the end of the season," Wakefield said. "The playoffs start now for the CCC."
Atwater 8, Golden Valley 5
ATWATER -- The Falcons continued their late season surge with a win over the Cougars to move within one game of Pitman for the third and final playoff spot.
Victor Tiscareno and Bear Vasquez drove in two runs each. Tiscareno, Tyler Zeller and Dalton Beatty all had two hits for Atwater (5-7 CCC).
Ryan Sanchez and Quinn Heckman combined for the win on the mound.
Turlock 3, Merced 0
TURLOCK -- The Bulldogs extend their school record winning streak to 22 games with a win over the Bears.
Nick Voumard drove in two runs with a double during a three-run second inning for Turlock (22-1, 12-0). The Bears (4-8 CCC) are headed the opposite way with their third straight loss.