Chowchilla bats come alive early

By Sean Lynch / slynch@mercedsunstar.comMay 16, 2013 

CHOWCHILLA -- Kevin Jones knows what he's getting from his pitchers.

The Dos Palos High baseball staff has been as consistent as the sunrise, giving the Broncos a solid chance to win just about every time they've toed the rubber.

The Dos Palos offense has been a different story.

A young lineup had a little catching up to do as it accumulated at-bats and confidence. Jones said things started falling into place in the last month.

It certainly appeared to be the case on Wednesday afternoon as the Broncos pounded out 11 runs on 13 hits in an 11-3 Central Section Division 4 first-round playoff victory over Chowchilla.

Dos Palos is scheduled to travel to take on top-seeded Kerman in the quarterfinals today. Kerman defeated McClane 8-1.

"The guys have really just hit the ball well the last month of the season," Jones said. "The pitching has been there all year, but we really struggled to hit to start the season.

"It usually takes us a couple innings to get going, but jumping out on them right away was huge."

Adam Coronado set the tone for the Broncos (17-11-2), one-hopping the second pitch he saw over the left-field fence for a lead-off ground-rule double. Noah Croninger singled in Coronado and Dos Palos tacked on two more runs with back-to-back doubles from Efrain Del Rio and Ryan Willis (three RBIs).

"That first inning was big for me as a pitcher," Del Rio said. "Knowing I had a cushion to work with took away some of the pressure on the mound."

Dos Palos didn't stop there. The Broncos sent 42 batters to the plate in the first four innings, with half the lineup getting four plate appearances in as many innings.

Run-scoring singles by Jacob Coronado and Zack Zuspan helped DP score four runs in the second inning.

Four errors and five more hits allowed Dos Palos to tack on two more runs in both the third and fourth innings and build a commanding 11-0 lead.

"There's no doubt that Dos Palos was ready to play today," Redskins coach Kirk Delmas said. "They came out and jumped all over us.

"You have to give a lot of credit to Kevin and his staff. Those kids were well prepared."

Del Rio helped make sure Chowchilla (15-11) never had thoughts of a comeback.

The junior right-hander limited the Redskins to three hits through the first six innings, only allowing multiple runners to reach safely in an inning twice. Del Rio struck out 11 and didn't allow a hit with runners in scoring position until the seventh.

"I was nervous," Del Rio said. "Our season ended here last year, and I didn't want that to happen again.

"Getting the big lead definitely calmed me down. After that, I just tried to throw strikes and let my defense take care of the rest."

Chowchilla denied Del Rio the shutout in the seventh, getting some consolation runs. Kelby Grissom (2 for 3) tripled in a pair of runs and came around to score on a wild pitch.

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