State

Livingston pounds Gustine for 2 seed

LIVINGSTON — It took five pitches to set the Western Athletic Conference's postseason order on Thursday.

Livingston High spent the day in batting practice mode, launching Gustine pitches to all corners of Alverez Field.

One landed near the football stadium. A few reached the warning track. Another hit off the center-field wall.

Charles Brown, Fernando Carrillo and Gurpreet Sangha each drove in four runs as the Wolves blasted Gustine 21-4 to get the No. 2 seed in the Sac-Joaquin Section playoffs. Gustine is seeded No. 3, with Central Catholic No. 1.

Livingston (19-6, 12-3) faces the No. 3 team from the Trans-Valley League (Ripon or Modesto Christian), while Gustine (9-10, 8-7) plays the Mother Lode League champ (Linden or Bret Harte). Both foes will be decided today.

Central (19-2, 13-2) plays TVL No. 3 Ripon Christian (16-7) in the first round. Escalon (21-3) the MLL runner-up.

Earlier Thursday, DJ Jantz threw a perfect seventh to beat Gustine 7-2 in the completion of a makeup game.

That loss relegated Gustine to No. 3, and the Redskins were flat in the second game.

Livingston was motivated: It was the 19th win of the season, tops during coach Matt Winton's 17-year tenure at Livingston.

Sangha was 3-for-3 with four runs and four RBIs. Brian Alvarez scored three runs and tripled, and Luis Galvan had two RBI as Livingston enjoyed its finest offensive performance of the season.

More important, the sweep helped rid the dugout of ghosts from losses past.

Three weeks ago, Livingston appeared headed toward a WAC title, but lost a combined three in a row to Central Catholic and Patterson.

The slide knocked the Wolves into second place — and gave Gustine hope heading into this week's series.

"This was important to the self-esteem. It picks us right back up. It feels good to win again," said Brown, who stoked the offensive barrage with a two-run home run in the first inning.

Brown turned on an inside fastball from Chris Perry, lifting it over the fence in left.

Livingston touched Perry, a left-handed breaking ball pitcher, for eight runs in the first, three more in the second and five in the third.

Gustine's lone bright spot came from Ben Griset.

The St. Mary's commit and big-league prospect launched a grand slam off the metal containers in right field to make it 8-4.

Gustine would get just one hit over the three innings.

Gustine will need more heroics from Griset beginning Wednesday in the playoffs. The 6-foot senior will toe the rubber in the playoff opener.

"You never want to go (into the playoffs) losing, so we got our work cut out for us," Gustine coach Manuel Bettencourt said.

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