The Pacheco High baseball team finally got in the Western Athletic Conference win column with Tuesday’s 6-5 victory over Patterson, and the Panthers did it with a baseball rarity – a walk-off walk.
“We could have just stopped and threw it in the trash, saying ‘0-12, we got next season,’ ” said Pacheco senior Wyatt Orozco, who pitched the complete game. “We took up the bats, came together as a team and we scored runs and said we weren’t going to take no as an answer. We were going to get a ‘W.’ ”
Pacheco trailed 5-3 after a Patterson run in the top of the seventh inning. Orozco started a rally with one out, driving a single down the third-base line. John Sommerfeld walked, but was thrown out in a Mark Garcia fielder’s choice that sent pinch runner Tristen Trevino to third. Trevino scored on a passed ball, and Garcia went to second. Miguel Martinez reached on what should have been the third out when Patterson first baseman Kevin Phelps couldn’t hang on to a one-hopper from shortstop Santiago Canu. Garcia came around on the play to score the tying run.
“I was telling him to go all the way, because based on how the ball is hit, it’s kind of in the hole, either it’s going to be an out or a misplayed ball,” Pacheco coach Joey Costa said. “So we’re banking on with a two-out situation like that that you’re going to try and score, and if he bobbles it at all, you should be able to score. He had a little bit of hesitation that made it a little closer than I would have liked, but it worked out for us.”
Patterson gave Kenneth Remulla an intentional walk, then Cade Lewis faced a full-count situation. The cliche goes that baseball is a game of inches, but millimeters saved Lewis from committing the last out on a foul tip that Patterson catcher Trevor Troxler couldn’t hang on to for the third strike. Instead Lewis drew a walk on the next pitch.
“That was a huge at-bat with Cade,” Costa said. “He’s a guy who had to earn some playing time this year, and it started about three or four weeks ago, he had some opportunities. When we went to Carmel, actually, he had a 4-for-5 day, and he hasn’t come out of the lineup since, and in that situation I felt confident he would either get a walk or put the bat on the ball, and he got the walk out of it.”
Shortstop Jerry Salomon drew a walk with the bases loaded to force Martinez across for the winning run and give Pacheco (5-16, 1-10 WAC) its first WAC win this year.
“To start that inning out there, it was 7-8-9 and it was two guys that had come in off the bench, and it’s big for them to go up there and not give away their at-bats,” Costa said. “They went up there and were grinding and drew some walks and put a little pressure on them, and that’s what we’ve been trying to do all year, it just hasn’t always been happening that way.”
Orozco pitched the complete game to earn the win, coming out for a pinch runner after his single in the bottom of the seventh. Even though he gave up runs in the sixth and the seventh, Pacheco’s coaching staff kept him on the mound.
“Early on he was really fighting himself because he wasn’t able to get those secondary pitches over, and the umpire was kind of squeezing him a little bit,” Costa said. “I tried to keep him calm as much as I could, and as the game progressed he started getting his breaking pitches over a little more, and that kind of helped him. We booted some balls where we shouldn’t have given up the five runs, but that’s baseball.”
Patterson remained winless in league play, dropping to 0-9. Both teams committed three errors, but Patterson’s came in run-scoring situations.
“We just didn’t come through in the clutch. Seemed a little tight at the end with the umpire, but still, we kicked the ball three times that inning, so we can’t blame the umpire for not making the play when we had an opportunity,” Patterson coach Benji Lozano said. “That’s kind of been the theme of our year is we play tough baseball, and it seems like we find a way to kick a ball, throw a ball away – we tense up a little bit and we haven’t been able to win these close ones.”
Los Banos, meanwhile, ran away with a 16-6 road victory against Livingston, with a Tyler Slayday home run as the centerpiece.