The Los Banos High baseball team took the second leg of its crosstown rivalry with Pacheco, winning 7-5 on Thursday. But one big inning almost did the Tigers in.
Los Banos had a 5-1 lead after a three-run top of the fourth inning when coach Pat Fuentes pulled freshman starter Steven Domanski from just his second varsity appearance. In came junior Brevin Welch, who promptly gave up four runs and the lead – including a pair of bases-loaded walks.
“You don’t ever want to give up a four-run lead, but at the same time, you want to see how your team’s going to react to that,” Fuentes said. “So it was a good learning experience for them, and it was a good learning experience for Brevin, to know that it’s all right to have one bad inning and then come out and finish the game.”
Welch finished the game, allowing just one baserunner over the last three innings – a single in the fifth to Miguel Martinez, who was caught in a double play the next batter.
“I came in in the bottom of the fourth, I told them, ‘Sorry, guys,’ ” Welch said. “They were like, ‘Don’t be sorry. It’s baseball.’ Corbin (Lilledahl) and Michael (Severino) are the two ones that have the biggest influence on me, and they said basically, ‘We’ll still love you, you’re still our teammate.’ So before all that, it was a bunch of mixed things going through my head, the rivalry, same team in town, everyone’s here, it’s just a nervous feeling.”
Meanwhile, Los Banos (7-4, 2-2 Western Athletic Conference) got one run in each of the fifth and the sixth, on RBI singles by catcher Tyler Wilson and Chris Corral. Corral drove in Welch, who reached on an error. The margin was thinner than Fuentes would like.
“I told the boys, they wanted it more than us today,” Fuentes said. “They wanted to beat their cross-town rival more than us. It’s just they made a couple more mistakes than we did and that’s what cost them. Intensity, all that, they had it today.”
Pacheco had runners in scoring position in the first three innings against Domanski, but only capitalized in the third when Kenneth Remulla led of with a walk, stole second, then came the rest of the way around on passed balls. The loss lef the Panthers on an eight-game losing streak and 0-6 in the WAC.
“Overall, we’re in quite a funk right now,” Pacheco coach Joey Costa said. “Our approach with runners in scoring position is what is lacking the most. When we’re getting guys on third base or second base, we’re not quite executing what we need to do. We’re not getting the ball to the outfield to get the sacrifice fly, or the hard line drive in the gap.”