A trio of victories on Tuesday has left the final Western Athletic Conference standings in a gridlock, with Los Banos, Pacheco and Central Catholic all tied for second at 7-5.
The WAC sends three teams to the playoffs, which means one of those three teams will be left out after Wednesday’s three-way tiebreaker games at Pacheco High – Los Banos and Central Catholic play at 2 p.m., and Pacheco will play the loser. The loser of the second game will miss playoffs.
On Tuesday, Los Banos defeated Livingston 11-3, Pacheco shut out Patterson 8-0 and Central Catholic defeated Central Valley. Pacheco’s Gia Rodoni struck out 15 Patterson batters just a few days after shutting down Los Banos with 18 strikeouts in a 4-0 no-hitter, the first time Pacheco softball has defeated Los Banos in the school’s young history.
“It’ll definitely be memorable for the first time that Pacheco beat LB in softball, that’s for sure,” Pacheco coach Charlie Pikas said. “I’ve been saying it for a while, she’s a special kid.”
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Los Banos managed just two baserunners against Pacheco – a hit batsman in the sixth inning and a walk in the seventh. Pacheco managed seven hits, but LB starter Taylor Harris scattered most of them except for the two-hit, one-error first inning that gave Pacheco all of its runs.
“You know what you’re going to get (against Rodoni), and everybody knows that,” Los Banos coach Dustin Caropreso said. “But realistically, the first inning, we give up one hit, two hits? I mean, we still could be playing. This is two decent softball teams, just, you know, they executed when they needed to.”
Harris allowed five hits in five innings of work against Livingston on Tuesday, but this time the Los Banos offense answered the call, turning a 2-2 tie into a 6-2 lead on just one hit, three walks and an error in the fourth inning. The Tigers picked up steam the next inning with doubles by Breanna Cascia and Ally Waltman, followed by a Jenna Gilardi triple and a Harris double for good measure.
All told, the Tigers racked up 10 walks and three hit batsman against the Wolves.