The Pacheco baseball team clawed its way back to .500 with a league win followed by a 2-1 performance at the Art McRea Tournament in Ceres this week.
The Panthers got started with an 8-4 win in Thursday's rematch against Livingston, which defeated them earlier in the week. The Panthers' offense exploded in the win, with Omar Sierra, Chris Carnero and Kenneth Remulla all batting 3-for-4. Carnero drove in four runs, three of them on a bases-loaded triple.
"Obviously, it's important to try to win every league game, because it's not like we have a lot of games to work with," Pacheco coach Joey Costa said. "We felt we should have won Tuesday against them, and we spent about a 4-hour practice on Wednesday trying to make some adjustments on hitting.
"We had over 10 hits that game. I felt like the kids started to buy in and made some crucial adjustments they haven't been making the last few games."
The Panthers carried that momentum into the opening of the McRea Tournament on Monday with a 9-0 drubbing of Orestimba, with Jesse Cortez tossing a complete-game shutout. Sierra and Adam Lopez each smacked a double, and Carnero scored twice.
"Monday was a big game, because we had lost to Orestimba earlier, and they're a good ballclub," Costa said. "I felt we really executed in that game. Plus it was our first shutout of the year, so I was proud of that. Jesse pitched a good game."
After Riverbank tagged Wyatt Orozco for 6 runs in Tuesday's 6-2 loss, the Panthers rebounded with a 4-1 win over Denair. Remulla scored twice and drove in a pair, while sophomore Jerry Salomon went 2-for-2. But despite the win, Costa said the team took a small step back in the last two games.
"Even against Denair, I wasn't super satisfied with just winning," Costa said. "We made some mistakes we shouldn't be making. We'll take a win when we can get it, but I feel we should have been 3-0 in those games. The competitor in me wasn't satisfied."
Pacheco's Thursday game against Yerington out of Nevada (southeast of Reno) was rained out, without a makeup. Costa said the tournament organizers decided to end the tournament there rather try to reschedule things.
"I was assuming Yerington wasn't going to want to stay here another day," Costa said. "And Ceres was going to play Central Valley in the championship, so being league opponents, I don't think they wanted to push the issue."
Pacheco (9-9, 1-3 Western Athletic Conference) returns to league play Tuesday against cross-town rival Los Banos (10-3-1, 0-2 WAC). The fledgling rivalry will be a new experience for Costa -- but not his players.
"I haven't really talked too much with them like that," Costa said. "Obviously, being new to Los Banos and to Pacheco, I don't know how emotional this game is going to set up, with the kids all knowing each other. My plan is to make sure these guys stay level headed and make sure we play our game."
Pacheco softball took the break in its league schedule to play Golden Valley in a non-league contest, which GV won 14-4. Pacheco's Arianna Barton went 2-for-4, and Shyanne Vargas added a double.
Los Banos, meanwhile, moved into sole possession of second place with a 2-1 victory over Ceres on Thursday.
Enterprise reporter David Witte can be reached by phone at 388-6565 or by e-mail at sports@losbanos
Enterprise reporter David Witte can be reached by phone at 388-6565 or by e-mail at sports@losbanos enterprise.com