Beyer High's baseball team didn't take its typical trip to the playoffs last season, and that snapped its streak of five consecutive Modesto Metro Conference championships.
The Patriots made sure that didn't happen two years in a row, as freshman Trey Ridenour dominated Enochs in a 7-2 win Tuesday to guarantee Beyer yet another MMC title.
"It's good to be back in the playoffs. Last year just didn't feel right," said coach Steve Clark, whose Patriots (18-6, 10-2) are No. 1 in The Bee's Stanislaus District rankings.
Beyer scored twice in the second, on run-scoring singles by Stephen Roy and Jacob Scott, then struck for five runs in the fifth for a 7-0 lead.
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The Patriots sent nine to the plate in the fifth, scoring first on a wild pitch and then on RBI singles by Garrett Roberts and Kyle Crawford. An error and a wild pitch made it 7-0.
Fourth-ranked Enochs (7-5, 13-11) had its opportunities against Ridenour (6-2, 0.90 ERA), a 6-foot-2 lefty, but did not score in his six innings of work.
Ridenour, who struck out nine while walking two and giving up four hits, has given up just three earned runs in his last six starts.
"Trey was effectively wild," said Clark, noting Ridenour faced plenty of 3-1 and 3-2 counts. "When Enochs got guys in scoring position, he'd come back with a strikeout."
Enochs had runners on first and third with one out in the first, but Ridenour struck out cleanup hitter Brian Dix and Christian Kahler. Enochs' leadoff man reached in the second, but two more strikeouts ended that threat.
"He was around the zone and kept the hitters guessing," said Clark, noting the inconsistency made Ridenour's slider more effective. "He had them chasing pitches. They couldn't sit on anything."
With three games to go, Beyer is three ahead of Enochs, Downey (7-5, 14-10) and Davis (7-5, 13-7). Beyer plays at Enochs Thursday, and plays Downey twice next week.
Davis and Enochs play two against each other next week. Only two make the playoffs.
Beyer has the tiebreaker over Enochs and Davis. The only scenario where it isn't the outright champ and No. 1 seed is if it loses its last three and Downey wins all three.
Clark likes his situation.
"We've got three pitchers throwing well," said Clark, whose other starters are Matt Jackson (5-2, 2.67) and Kyle Crawford (3-0, 0.35). "Crawford missed the first half of the season with an injury. He has two one-hitters and a three-hitter in three starts."
Crawford gets the ball Thursday, said Clark, and earning the top seed is crucial. The MMC runner-up faces defending Sac-Joaquin Section South champ St. Mary's in the single-elimination first round, while the MMC champ meets the Central California Conference runner-up.