Los Banos sweeps Sierra-Tollhouse

By David Witte / sports@losbanosenterprise.comMarch 15, 2013 

Los Banos High pitchers Cristian Garnica and Chester Amaral gave coach Mike Lemos a reason to believe in them with two complete-game performances in Saturday's double-header sweep of Sierra-Tollhouse from the Central Section.

But after facing a lineup of smart contact hitters in the 5-3 and 7-1 wins, the two pitchers have confidence in the defense behind them.

"You definitely had to pitch to contact, because they can all hit, so it was just a matter of throwing pitches where they hit it not as good, I guess," said Amaral, who threw a one-hitter in the nightcap. "It was all about location. It wasn't about blowing it by them or throwing your junk at them, because they can hit it all."

The two backed each other up as well -- Amaral played second base during Garnica's win, which took 65 pitches, and Garnica roamed the shortstop position for Amaral's, which took 78 pitches.

"For me, it makes my job a lot easier," Lemos said. "I know during league we have two games a week, and I can go to those two guys and save my other guys for relief. Knowing those two can go five, six innings lightens up the load on (Chris) Castillo and Brevin (Welch) and those guys that are my relievers."

The opening game looked like it would be a pitcher's dual between Garnica and Sierra's Garrett Martin. Nobody reached second base until Tyler Slayday's leadoff double for LB in the bottom of the fourth. Slayday then scored on a Castillo single.

The Tigers broke the game open in the fifth when Slayday took a pitch in the back with the bases loaded to force home a run, then Corbin Lilledahl scored two more with a single down the third-base line. Slayday then scored on a groundout.

"We're hitting the ball better," Lemos said. "That's a good team over there. They're going to compete for their section. They're division 5. It's always good to play somebody out of section, to see how they play. They're a very good team, a very young team, but they swing the bat well, so we needed to play good defense."

Sierra closed the gap in the bottom of the seventh with doubles by Tanner Brisky and Logan Montgomery leading to three runs before Amaral calmed down and finished the game.

"It was pretty good. Great defense," Garnica said.

The only Sierra threat against Amaral came as the result of a Brisky single and a pair of errors in the top of the fourth inning. Brisky beat the throw from third after a bobbled ball, which LB's home scorekeeper ruled a hit to break up Amaral's no-hitter.

"I threw a lot of balls early on, and I've been working real hard, and today everything felt real good," Amaral said. "Curveball felt amazing. I was throwing a lot harder, I wasn't short-arming it."

LB, meanwhile, mounted a 3-0 lead by the end of the second inning. Welch, playing second base, went 3-for-4 with a pair of RBI to lead the offense.

Enterprise reporter David Witte can be reached by phone at 388-6565 or by e-mail at sports@losbanosenterprise.com

Enterprise reporter David Witte can be reached by phone at 388-6565 or by e-mail at sports@losbanosenterprise.com

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