Bears beat rival, get CCC playoff berth

MERCED — That coin can stay in your pocket. Not wanting its playoff fate decided on a coin flip, the Merced baseball team took care of business on the field.

Andrew Jaurique struck out 12 as the Bears pounded Golden Valley 10-0 to clinch the Central California Conference's No. 2 playoff spot.

"I'm glad the players decided it," Merced coach Lou Souza said. "We didn't want to have to deal with that coin toss.

"We had some good at-bats and had some good swings with guys moving on the bases. We just executed."

With Buhach Colony's 14-11 win over Los Banos earlier Friday, Merced needed a win to clinch a berth. A loss meant Merced and BC would have flipped a coin.

Before the game, many of the players overheard updates from the Buhach Colony game from Merced athletic direction Scott Winton.

"We were playing that game for a while," Souza said. "The environment tonight was just tremendous. With all the people that came out, we just told our guys control what you can and play as hard as you can.

"For any kid watching, (this) let them know a little bit about Merced baseball."

Merced jumped out early.

Kevin Carbajal singled in the bottom of the first inning and scored on a two-out single by Drake Burch.

Merced tacked on four in the second inning. Jaurique delivered the big blow in the inning with two-run double.

Merced never slowed down as the game was called after five innings because of the 10-run mercy rule.

Merced will face Modesto Metro Conference champion Beyer in the first round of the Sac-Joaquin Section Division 1 playoffs on Wednesday at 4 p.m. at the University of the Pacific.

"It's big, real big for this group of guys to make it," said Jaurique, who also went 3-for-4 with four RBIs. "It means something to us. We worked hard and it means something to all of us."