The Chowchilla High baseball team is headed to its first Valley Championship game since 2008.
The seventh-seeded Tribe (16-11-1) scored the only run in the game in the top of the seventh inning and ace Austin Hickman made it stand up, going the distance in a 1-0 victory over No. 6 Fowler in the Central Section Division IV semifinals on Wednesday afternoon at Fowler High School.
Chowchilla will face No. 5 Monache (18-12) at Fresno State’s Pete Beiden Field on Saturday morning at 9:30 for the section title. The Marauders defeated No. 9 Bakersfield Christian 6-5 in the other semifinal game on Wednesday.
“It’s been a long time,” said Chowchilla coach Jeff Palmer. “They put it together at the end of the season and got hot along the way. We knew we had a team that could go the distance, it was just a matter of putting it together. We finally have and everyone is pumped up.”
The game was scoreless through six innings with Hickman and Fowler’s Parker Renteria locked in a pitchers’ duel.
Renteria went the whole way for the Redcats (17-12-1), striking out 13 and giving up just two hits.
A one-out walk to Cody Woolsey set up the Tribe for the game-winning rally in the seventh. Woolsey stole second base and, with two outs, Noah Linhares drove in the only run of the game with a single.
Hickman pitched seven innings, giving up just five hits, striking out four and surrendering just one walk. The fourth-year starter improved to 8-3 on the season and lowered his ERA to 1.34.
“He had great poise and great command,” Palmer said. “He’s the one kid I want with the ball on the mound in those big situations. He’s always stepped up in the big games since he was a freshman pitching on varsity.”
Rain postpones games
The Buhach Colony and Livingston baseball teams both had their playoff games scheduled for Thursday postponed until Friday.
Buhach Colony (22-5) will host Rio Americano on Friday at 4 p.m. in the Sac-Joaquin Section Division III playoffs.
Livingston (18-10) will travel to Woodland on Friday at 4 p.m. in the Division IV playoffs.
Del Oro 5, Atwater 2 in Loomis — The No. 7 seed Falcons (20-8) saw their season come to an end in the second round of the Sac-Joaquin Section Division II playoffs.
Michalah Robison doubled and drove in three runs for the No. 2 seeded Golden Eagles.
Megan Escobar went 1 for 2 and drove in a run for Atwater.