For Hector Isas, No. 6 Dos Palos’ 8-7 victory over 11th-seeded and visiting Corcoran in the first round of the Central Section Division IV playoffs Tuesday was about redemption.
After committing two fielding errors and a throwing error in the fifth and sixth innings to help give Corcoran a 7-2 lead, Isas doubled into the left-center-field gap in the sixth to drive in two runs and tie the score 7-7, moments after Daniel Gamino doubled to right to knock in two runs.
“I was just trying to help my team out; you know, don’t want to let anybody down,” Isas said. “Just looking for a good pitch to hit. It made (the day) a little better.”
Isas’ hit sent the game to extra innings, where it was the Efrain Del Rio show. The Dos Palos junior pitched the final four innings to earn the win and drove in the winning run.
It would have been easy to roll over after trailing 7-2, especially with Corcoran starter Nico Portillo consistently hitting a large strike zone with a variety of pitches.
“Basically what I told them is that we’re not going to quit. We’re leaving everything on the field,” Dos Palos coach Kevin Jones said. “We’re going to battle. Dig deep and find something. I said, ‘Do you seniors want this to end right here?’ The seniors did not want this to end on their home field. I said to find a way, and they found a way.”
Dos Palos’ Ariel Anderson led off the ninth by reaching on an error, and an Adam Coronado single and a Noah Croninger walk loaded the bases for Del Rio, a big swinger who was intentionally walked the previous at-bat. Zach Zuspan encouraged him from the on-deck circle, saying, “Efrain, bring us home.”
Del Rio responded with a single to the left side, scoring Anderson.
“I was just looking for a good ball to hit to the outfield, or a hard ground ball to the infield,” Del Rio said. “He was throwing harder than we’ve seen all season.”
Portillo allowed two runs in the first on an error and a Gamino single but left the Broncos (19-7) flat-footed until the sixth.
“All I can say is we had ’em, we did the best we could, and that’s it,” Corcoran coach Mike Pankratz said. “We left it all out there; we believe that.
“We had a successful season. Our pitcher pitched hard, but the focus shouldn’t be on him. All those kids played hard. And we’ve got the emotion over there in that dugout to show it.”