Pacheco beats Johanse, Gustine to get back to .500

dwitte@losbanosenterprise.comMarch 17, 2014 

Pacheco baseball has seen a lot in its first four games, including rain-outs, blowouts and a nail-biter.

On Tuesday, the Panthers nearly gave up a three-run lead in the final inning, allowing two runs and a runner on second base with one out before putting the final two batters out.

Wednesday’s game wasn’t nearly as close, with Pacheco reaching mercy-rule territory in the second inning of a 13-1 victory.

“We’ve been grinding on these guys to have good at-bats and good discipline at the plate, and we’re finally starting to battle and some good things are happening,” Pacheco coach Joey Costa said. “My main goal is to make sure everybody is going up to bat and making solid contact. Once it leaves the bat, it’s out of our hands, so if you hit the ball hard and make an out, it’s still a good at-bat. We’re trying to eliminate the weak contact and things like that.”

Nearly everybody in the Pacheco lineup reached base, with Daniel Martinez leading the way in a 3-for-3 day. Ricky Lopez bounced back from strikeouts in his first two at-bats to launch a double later in the game, and Miguel Martinez also doubled.

Pacheco starter Jesse Cortez kept the Gustine bats silent for the most part, allowing one run in the third inning when he hit a batter, who then advanced on a single and a fielder’s choice, scoring on a sacrifice fly. Cortez leads a staff that hasn’t really had a chance to shake out yet because of cancellations.

“We have some more guys working on pitching,” Costa said. “Coming back from last year is Wyatt Orozco, and then coming up from last year’s JV team we have Tristen Trevino, Cade Lewis is a senior, and then Kenneth (Remulla) pitches, Mark (Garcia) pitches, but those guys have been limited so far just because we haven’t had a lot of games, but we have six or seven guys we feel like we can go to in a pinch. So far we’ve only pitched four or five.”

Pacheco has one more tuneup on Saturday against Dos Palos before hitting league play next week against defending-champion Central Catholic. The Panthers can take lessons from Tuesday’s near-disaster into those games.

“I felt like we were kind of rolling, and then the ball gets through here, the ball gets through there, and next thing you know we’re in a tight game,” Costa said. “Hopefully we’ll be able to handle that, because I know we’ll be in some games like that once league starts. Especially next week with Central Catholic. Last year we had some fairly close games with them, and I would have the same expectations going into this year.”

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