Don’t go to sleep on the Dos Palos baseball team.
Since starting 0-3, the Broncos have won two in a row, both times coming back from large deficits. The most recent was Saturday’s 10-8 victory over Pacheco in Los Banos, which Pacheco led 6-0 after three innings.
Dos Palos responded by getting seven of the first eight batters on base (two errors, four singles and a hit batsman) to start the fourth, scoring all seven to take a permanent lead in the Western Athletic Conference game.
“I just tell them hitting’s contagious. One person hits, they all hit,” Dos Palos coach Kevin Jones said. “That’s our philosophy we go with. It was the same situation (March 11) when we played Le Grand – we were down by five, and in one inning we scored seven runs. It seems to be the protocol this season so far is we start off slow and finish strong. That’s not how we want to do it, but we’ll take all we can get right now.”
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Dos Palos starter Efrain Del Rio went the distance, but the junior looked gassed after Pacheco’s Kenneth Remulla got two strikes on him and fouled off seven or eight third strikes before launching a double to right field. It was the second of three straight doubles for the Panthers, who took a 3-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning.
“He got me tired. It was a lot of pitches for just one batter,” Del Rio said. “It kind of put my confidence down because I gave up that double.”
Pacheco scored two more in the second on a pair of singles and an error, then Pacheco junior Jerry Salomon led off the third with a triple and scored on a Chris Carnero groundout.
“Early in the game I felt like we were up there with a purpose, we were trying to battle with this guy,” Pacheco coach Joey Costa said. “All these guys know this guy. He’s known in the area, he’s got a great arm, he throws a lot of strikes and the ball is really coming downhill on you, and we were getting some good at-bats. Kenneth said that was a capper, and that kept that inning rolling, and that’s what we want out of these guys. We’ve got to keep that sustained throughout all seven innings.”
Instead, Dos Palos ran up a 7-6 lead in the top of the third, with the centerpiece a two-run Noah Croninger single down the first-base line.
“This is a pretty seasoned team. We’ve been through it all the last couple of years,” Jones said. “They know that baseball’s a seven-inning game and they can battle back at any time, and they’re really starting to believe that now.”
Dos Palos threatened again in the top of the fifth, but a double play ended the inning with the bases loaded. A lead-off error led a Dos Palos run in the sixth, but Salomon drove in a pair with a double in the bottom of the frame to tie the game.
An error and three triples gave Dos Palos its two-run lead back, and all Pacheco was able to muster in the final inning was a Ricky Lopez walk.
“I think we counted four or five dropped fly balls. That’s something we’re working every day on, and you don’t expect it,” Costa said. “That’s all part of the learning process, but going from practice to game speed puts a little more pressure on you, and intensity, and that’s what we’re trying to figure out – what players we need to have out there and which guys aren’t.
“It definitely was frustrating. You could see the flow of the game. I thought we were rolling, and offensively we’re facing their top dog and I felt like were doing some good things. They made some errors like flies in the outfield that gave us some extra bases, but we were still hitting the ball hard and putting the pressure on them.”
Pacheco opened up league play on Tuesday with a 7-4 loss to Central Catholic.