With three games left in the regular season the Atwater High baseball team gets a break from its quest for one of the three Central California Conference playoff spots.
The Falcons are in third place after a 7-5 start in CCC play.
Atwater coach Jarrod Pimentel will let some of his guys who haven’t seen much playing time an opportunity to play on a big stage next week when the 55th annual Fran Oneto/Atwater-Winton Lions Easter Tournament gets underway at Memorial Ballpark.
“We have a couple players who don’t see the field quite often who work just as hard or harder than our starters,” Pimentel said. “Some of them will get a chance to step in and enjoy the moment.”
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The eight-team tournament will feature four local teams in Atwater, Livingston, Los Banos and Pacheco. Rounding out the rest of the field will be St. Mary’s (Berkeley), Moreau (Hayward), St. Joseph (Alameda) and Minarets (O’Neals).
“It’s been difficult to fill the tournament the last five years because every year some leagues play conference games through Easter break, some teams have their break before Easter and other schools have their break after. That’s why we’ve had different teams in the tournament the last three years.
“We’re excited to have Los Banos and Pacheco in the tournament. It’s nice to have Matt (Winton) and Livingston in the tournament. It’s good to have eight teams in the tournament again.”
The tournament is always a highlight of the season for the Atwater players. It’s an opportunity to play under the lights in front a large crowd.
“It’s a little nerve-racking at first,” said senior Victor Tiscareno. “But once the first pitch is thrown and the game gets going, everyone gets after it. I think if we can win this tournament it would be a big confidence boost for us going back into CCC play. We have Turlock, Pitman and Buhach Colony left on our schedule. We need to win it.”
Minarets and Pacheco will open the tournament on Monday at 10 a.m. Minarets will turn around and play Los Banos at 1 p.m. St. Joseph and Moreau will play the 3 p.m. game and Atwater plays Livingston at 7 p.m.