Tigers bite Central Valley in final game

By David Witte / sports@losbanosenterprise.comMay 10, 2013 

Los Banos baseball ended the season on a high note Tuesday with a tense 4-3 victory over Central Valley.

LB pitcher Chester Amaral pitched the complete game, and also hit what turned out to be the game-winning double in the fifth inning, moments after his battery-mate, catcher Tyler Slayday, was ejected from the game for running over Central Valley catcher Jorge Alvarez.

"It's always good to end on a 'W'," Los Banos coach Mike Lemos said. "We lost a tough one yesterday, and Central Valley ended up getting into the playoffs, and we're sitting fourth, again one game out, like we were last year. But we had six more wins than we did last year."

The Monday loss and Tuesday win left Los Banos tied with Pacheco and Livingston at 4-8. The WAC sends three teams to the playoffs.

Central Valley led 3-2 in the bottom of the fifth when Slayday led off with a walk. When he tried to score from second on an error off a Chris Castillo fly ball, the throw arrived several steps before Slayday, who lowered his shoulder into Alvarez, earning an ejection. Alvarez held on to the ball, despite laying dazed on his back for about 10 seconds.

Amaral stepped to the plate after jawing among the players, with parents still yelling behind him.

"You get people talking on both sides, and I hear one mom, I just remember her saying, 'Focus, that wasn't you, the next play is you,' " Amaral said. "I just remember her saying that, and I just kind of zoned in after that -- I don't even know who it was -- I just zoned in after that and just focused on getting the barrel through the strike zone."

Amaral took the first pitch and sent it screaming to the left-field wall, scoring Castillo and Corbin Lilledahl to give LB a 4-3 lead.

"My philosophy is to let them supply the power, and just swing nice and smooth, and that's what he did," Lemos said. "I stopped yelling at first, because I thought it was gone."

Amaral said a change in his swing led to success at the plate later in the year.

"I was doing a lot of looping, popping up to right field," Amaral said. "And I had to do a lot of tee work and get back to basics, driving the ball instead of trying to pull it or trying to do too much. You've got to hit what the pitcher gives you."

Amaral also scored the first run of the game when he singled to right field in the first inning, then scored when first baseman Gabe Lopez blasted a triple past diving center fielder Raul Godinez.

"Especially on a senior day, that's fitting," Lemos said. "He's worked so hard all year long to do better than he did last year. Last year he struggled at the plate, and I ended up DH-ing him at the end of the year.

"It just shows you what effort will do when nobody's watching. He's in the cages on his own, he's taking extra ground balls -- he's working at the game."

Central Valley took a 3-1 lead in the third on a two-run error and an RBI double by Kendel Johnson. Delvonte Moore closed the gap to one in the bottom of the frame when he singled, stole second, and scored when the CV defense wasn't paying attention on a Lilledahl groundout.

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

The Los Banos Enterprise is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service