It took all seven innings, but the Los Banos High baseball team got back in the win column with Tuesday’s 12-9 victory over Patterson.
The one-two punch of leadoff batter Corbin Lilledahl and No. 2 hitter Brevin Welch combined to go 6-for-9 with a triple and a double each, and a total of six runs batted in.
“At the beginning of the year, that’s what I went with, and I kind of started overthinking it and trying to get Corbin more RBI chances, but he’s valuable up top,” Los Banos coach Pat Fuentes said. “He causes havoc and he gets on, and Brevin does a great job of putting balls in play. The one-two is what’s been getting us going all year. It showed today a lot, but all year they’ve been doing it.”
Los Banos found itself in a 4-0 hole after the first inning and a half, but an RBI double by Steven Domanski and an RBI single by Welch cut the gap to two runs in the bottom of the second. Michael Severino added another for Los Banos on an error in the third before Patterson extended the gap to 6-3 on three singles and two walks in the fourth. Patterson ended up with four errors.
“It’s a little frustrating. That’s not how we’ve been playing as of lately,” Patterson coach Benji Lozano said. “They’ve been struggling to score runs, but they’ve been keeping themselves in games with pitching and defense, and we just didn’t get it done today. We’re lucky to even be in the game at the end with that kind of defense. We’re not going to win ballgames kicking the ball around and throwing it around like that.”
Third baseman Chris Corral replaced starter Domanski on the mound for Los Banos and immediately gave up one of Domanski’s runs on a passed ball.
“I just didn’t come in with the right mindset,” Corral said. “I didn’t think I was going to pitch, and I just came straight in, so it took me a couple of pitches to get nice and loose, settled down with my defense behind me.”
Corral was slated to start the game, but with Christian Garnica out with appendicitis and expected to miss a large chunk of the season, Fuentes left Corral at third base and started Domanski, a freshman who was called up from the junior varsity earlier this year. Those two, along with Welch, will be expected to fill in while Garnica is sidelined.
“I didn’t want to move the defense around, so I spot-started the freshman today, and it worked out,” Fuentes said. “He was going to come in ready, and Chris is a battler, and he’ll go out there and do anything for his teammates, which I love, and that’s what he did today.”
Los Banos closed the gap again with a pair of runs in the bottom of the fourth on a Welch triple and a bases-loaded walk to Severino, which chased Patterson starter Santiago Cantu. The Tigers then took the lead with two more runs in the fifth on a double from Lilledahl and a single from Welch. LB added five insurance runs in the sixth on two hits (one a two-run triple from Lilledahl), three errors, a walk and a hit batsman.
But even that six-run lead was shaky when Patterson put three across in the final frame on a two-run Sal Becerra triple and a Cantu RBI single. Patterson had two runners on with two outs when a set of sprinklers timed on in left field, giving Corral a few extra minutes to think about his next batter.
“I saw that the tying run was at the plate, and I couldn’t let him get on,” Corral said. “He’s a good hitter, too. I knew he was going to get contact, I just needed to put the ball where my catcher was telling me to throw it.”
Corral finished the game by inducing a groundout to first base.
Meanwhile, Pacheco snapped a 10-game losing streak that stretched back to a non-conference loss to Dos Palos on March 15 with a 14-9 road victory over non-league foe Carmel on Saturday. The Panthers survived a seven-run sixth from Carmel by piling on the hits throughout the game. Six Carmel errors didn’t hurt, either.
Cade Lewis led the offensive explosion for Pacheco, going 4-for-5 with three RBIs. Kenneth Remulla went 3-for-5 with a double and Miguel Martinez belted a triple on his way to a four-RBI day.
The Pacheco rebound was short-lived, with a 10-0 league loss to Ceres on Wednesday.