Dos Palos baseball puts up tie in tourney

By David Witte / sports@losbanosenterprise.comApril 6, 2013 

For the second time in as many weeks, the Dos Palos baseball team walked off the field without a win or a loss after a 3-3 tie against Los Banos in the opener of the fourth-annual Jim Cantrell Memorial Tournament in Hilmar.

The Broncos, who tied Caruthers in a March 23 tournament game in Fowler, saw the result as a vast improvement after dropping 10-1 and 16-0 double-header losses to LB two weeks ago.

"Even though it's a tie, I think that it's definitely a confidence booster for us," Dos Palos coach Kevin Jones said. "Mentally right now before this game, I think some of our players were like, what they did to us a couple of weeks ago, they were kind of down. You probably noticed the first couple of innings they were kind of sluggish."

LB's No. 2 batter gave the Tigers a lead in the bottom of the first inning when he connected on a breaking ball for a solo home run that narrowly missed Hilmar's new scoreboard in left field. Two more came across in the second on RBI singles by Gabe Lopez and Brevin Welch.

DP sophomore Efrain Del Rio settled down after that, allowing just three more base runners in the game.

"This is a big difference in the hitters," Del Rio said about facing the team that teed off on him two weeks ago. "Can't give them the same pitches. You change up what you're throwing."

LB coach Mike Lemos was impressed with the difference he saw in Dos Palos.

"Our bats just went dead, and the things we hit hard went right at them," Lemos said. "And they made plays. That's a testament to those guys. That's not the same team we played three weeks ago."

DP scored two in the fifth, centered around an Adam Coronado double. Daniel Gamino scored the tying run in the top of the sixth when he reached on a dropped third strike and scored when Coronado walked with the bases loaded.

"We're such a young team, we've had our ups and downs, and right now I think we're starting to turn the corner in the right direction," Jones said. "Efrain's starting to throw, actually both of our pitchers are starting to throw pretty well right now, and we've hit the ball a lot better the last two weeks than we have all year long."

Both teams threatened in the seventh inning -- DP started by putting runners on first and second base with singles before a popup ended the threat.

Los Banos responded by a Gabe Lopez single, with pinch runner Matthew Brennan moving to third on a Welch base hit with two outs. Garnica looked like the hero again when he hit a tailing line drive to center field, but center fielder Noah Croninger made a diving catch to end the game (the tournament allows extra innings if the game is within a certain time frame, but this game was beyond that).

"That seventh inning, that ball's a little lower and that's it, game over," Lemos said. "Funny that three weeks ago, that center fielder had three dropped balls. Routine fly balls that he dropped, and he made some great plays today. That's a good team."

Other pool play scores from the Cantrell tournament included a 5-0 Mariposa win over Gustine, and Hilmar squeezing past Patterson 3-2.

LB's second pool play game was rained out Thursday. The Tigers take on Sutter today.

LB's sophomore team won its opener in the tournament, 15-2 over Le Grand.

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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