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Buhach Colony, Los Banos, Mariposa play for section baseball championships on Monday.

Buhach Colony’s Daniel Casso races home as third base coach Joe Medeiros reacts in the background. The Thunder advanced to the Final Four in the Sac-Joaquin Section Division III playoffs with a 6-2 win over Rio Americano on Friday, May 17, 2019.
Buhach Colony’s Daniel Casso races home as third base coach Joe Medeiros reacts in the background. The Thunder advanced to the Final Four in the Sac-Joaquin Section Division III playoffs with a 6-2 win over Rio Americano on Friday, May 17, 2019. Sjansen@mercedsun-star.com

Three area teams will spend their Memorial Day playing for Sac-Joaquin Section championships on Monday.

Buhach Colony, Los Banos and Mariposa will all try to bring home blue banners.

The Thunder (25-6) will face Ponderosa (17-15) at the University of the Pacific’s Klein Family Field at 4 p.m. for the Division III championship. Top-seeded Buhach Colony will have to defeat the Bruins twice to win the championship. Ponderosa needs just one win.

If the Thunder win the first game, a second game will follow.

Both teams have sophomores who have verbally committed to Stanford in Buhach Colony’s Jake Sapien and Ponderosa’s Ty Uber.

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Buhach Colony High senior Alex Kendrick delivers a pitch during Friday’s Sac-Joaquin Section Division III playoff game against Rio American. Kendrick pitched six innings to pick up the win. Shawn Jansen Sjansen@mercedsun-star.com

Sapien drove in the go-ahead run during a four-run fifth inning in a 6-4 win over Oakdale that kept the Thunder’s championship hopes alive on Thursday.

The Bruins handed Buhach Colony its only loss in the playoffs with a 7-4 win on Wednesday night.

The Thunder have the pitching staff to pull off two wins on Monday with Alex Kendrick, Antonio Cortez, Sapien and Kadon Floro all available.

The Thunder’s last section championship came in 2005.

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Max Ramirez (6) and Kody Cardoza (right) have been dominant on the mound for the Los Banos High baseball team this season. Merced

Division IV

Los Banos (27-1) is one win away from winning its first section title since 1994. Tigers coach Patrick Fuentes was on that section championship team.

Los Banos will play Central Catholic (18-12) at Tony Zupo Field in Lodi at 1 p.m. If the Raiders win the first game they will force a winner-take-all second game.

The two teams played a thriller earlier in the playoffs with Los Banos senior Miguel Espana delivering a two-run, walk-off double in the bottom of the seventh inning for a 4-3 win.

The Tigers bring a 23-game winning streak into Monday’s championship game. The Tigers’ only loss of the season was a 1-0 loss to Buhach Colony on March 9.

Los Banos has been led by shortstop Trent Mallonee, catcher Chase Wilson and pitchers Kody Cardoza and Max Ramirez. all season.

Division VI

Mariposa is looking to win its sixth baseball section championship when the Grizzlies (24-2) face Waterford (16-12) at Klein Family Field at 10 a.m. The Wildcats need to beat Mariposa twice to win the title.

Mariposa has won 11 straight games coming into Monday’s matchup. The Grizzlies split two games in Southern League play against Waterford.

The Grizzlies are led by senior MIchael Medinas, who is hitting .462 with four home runs and 40 RBIs. The 40 RBIs ranked 13th in the state and fourth in the section according to MaxPreps.

The Grizzlies are hitting .352 as a team and average 8.5 runs per game.

Mariposa ace Leo Kari has posted a 12-1 record with a 1.19 ERA. He’s struck out 112 batters in just over 70 innings pitched.

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