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Merced Volunteers’ bats wake up, teamsplits doubleheaders with Burlingame

SUN-STAR PHOTO BY LISA JAMES
2nd game against Burlingame on Saturday
The Volunteers
06-13-
SUN-STAR PHOTO BY LISA JAMES 2nd game against Burlingame on Saturday The Volunteers 06-13- Merced Sun-Star

Daniel Benson is under strict orders not to run at full speed. The Merced Volunteers outfielder is nursing a groin injury.

Fortunately for Benson, trotting around the bases isn't much of a strain.

Benson hit home runs in each game as the Vols split a doubleheader with Burlingame on Saturday at Merced College. Merced came back from a 9-3 deficit to win 10-9 in the first game. Burlingame jumped out to another big lead in the second game and held on for an 11-8 win.

"It's kind of funny, the first home run, I told the guys in the dugout I was going to hit one before I hit," Benson said. "I was joking, but it was nice to call it."

Benson's power has come from hard work.

The former Merced High standout spent this last spring red-shirting at Merced College, where he dedicated a lot of time in the weight room and preparing for next year.

"The coaches have made us come out and get on it," Benson said. "Watching how good (Merced College) did last year, I want to be ready to help keep it going."

Benson wasn't the only hot bat as the Volunteers (3-9) broke out offensively after being shut down by the Atwater Aviators the past couple of weeks.

Kyle Branion went 3 for 4 with a double and an RBI in the first game. Connor Oldcorn, Dillon White and J.C. Barcelo each picked up two hits.

Barcelo snapped a 9-9 tie in the bottom of the ninth with a walk-off single.

"It's a testament to these guys knowing we can swing the bat and comeback," Merced coach Joel Pedretti said. "We had some comfortable trips to the plate and that's something that has been lacking the last couple weeks."

Burlingame jumped out to a 10-3 lead with a five-run rally in the third inning in the second game.

The Vols answered with three runs in the bottom of the third, bolstered by Tynan Pedretti's RBI single.

Art Corona delivered a run-scoring single and Barcelo hit a sacrifice fly to help cut the deficit to 10-8 in the bottom of the fifth inning.

However, Burlingame shut out the Volunteers the rest of the way.

"Playing the Aviators has been tough on these guys," coach Pedretti said. "It was nice to play a team at our level. Burlingame is a Yountville-caliber team. Facing the better pitchers early helped us relax and see some pitches better."

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