The Kimball High baseball team has won its second crosstown game, a 4-2 victory on Wednesday over the West High Wolf Pack, in the leadup to the Valley Oak League season.
“We’re off to a good start. Anytime you can beat Tracy and West in the same year, it’s a good feeling,” Kimball coach Joshua Wesely said. “It’s always good to win those rivalry in-town games. We’re looking to keep the momentum into next week when we start league against Oakdale.”
Players said the crosstown games were good tests for the Jaguars in advance of VOL play.
“The powerhouses in the league like Sierra and Oakdale, this year we have a good chance to stand up against them,” said senior center fielder Elijah Fernandez. “Most teams don’t see us as a threat, but this season we’re going to keep getting better and better. I think at this spot we can win it all.”
The Jaguars started hitting the ball right away in Wednesday’s game at West High. Leadoff batter Roberto Marquez singled, stole second and advanced on senior Kyle Gibson’s single. Marquez stole home as Gibson stole second, and Gibson scored when junior Israel Velasquez reached on an error.
The Wolf Pack answered with a run in the bottom of the first. Junior William Aviles reached on a fielder’s choice, advanced to third on junior D.J. Farfan’s single and came home when senior Giovanni Cilibrasi drew a bases-loaded walk.
Kimball starting pitcher Gibson got out of the inning with just the one run scored, and ended up going four innings while giving up two hits and no other runs. He also walked six batters, and another was hit by a pitch. Kimball reliever Israel Velasquez gave up a hit and two walks.
West coach Dante Dell’Aringa said the Wolf Pack suffered from an assortment of offensive miscues but mostly just failed to take advantage of opportunities.
“We struggled to hit the ball, and leaving guys on base is another thing we talked about, being able to hit when you really need it, when guys are on second and third,” Dell’Aringa said.
“There’s going to be days where you hit and days where you don’t,” he said, adding that the lack of hits becomes especially frustrating when runners are left stranded, “and we’ve been working that a lot, being able to bunt a guy over, being able to hit and run to get guys in motion.”
The Jaguars extended their lead in the fifth inning when senior Colby Buntin walked and advanced to second on a failed pickoff attempt, and then executed an effective hit-and-run to round the bases as Fernandez singled up the middle for the RBI. Marquez then doubled to right field to drive in Fernandez.
“I honestly try to hit for the team, not for myself,” Marquez said afterward, adding that he believed teammates playing for each other would be the key to the Jaguars’ success this year. “The chemistry is great right now. We’re all gluing because of the wins, especially all the runs that we put up, and how fired up we get when someone gets a hit. I like that.”
The Jaguars totaled eight hits. West senior starting pitcher Nate Nelson allowed seven hits and four runs, three of them earned, and junior Christopher Chan allowed a hit and no runs in two innings of relief.
Logan 5, Tracy 4
The Bulldogs held a 4-1 lead after the top of the seventh inning Tuesday at Logan High in Union City, but they ended up falling as Logan rallied for four runs in the bottom of the seventh.
Tracy’s eight hits included a double and two singles for junior Shane Bowen. Junior Trevor DeBie had two hits and drove in two runs.
Sophomore Drew Giannini pitched six innings and gave up four hits and run while striking out 11 batters. Senior Matt Pombo got the loss as he gave up four hits and four runs, three of them earned, in the seventh inning, and junior Matt Canada faced the last two batters.
Millennium 9, Stone Ridge Christian 4
The Falcons needed only seven hits to claim a 9-4 win Tuesday at Stone Ridge Christian in Merced.
Senior Kaiden Joseph homered and drove in three runs, and senior Isaac DeWitt doubled, singled and batted in two runs. Senior Josh Marlin and juniors Miles Brown and Caden Duke also batted in runs for Millennium.
Sophomore Brandon Locke pitched four innings and gave up four hits and two runs while striking out six; senior Spencer Norvell allowed two hits and two runs over two innings, striking out three batters; and junior Alijah Gandall allowed two hits and no runs and struck out three.
Kennedy 4, West 2
The Wolf Pack broke a 1-1 tie with a run in the bottom of the fifth inning, but Kennedy High answered with two runs in the top of the sixth and one more in the seventh to get the 4-2 win Tuesday at West High.
West got hits from senior Jesse Gonsalves, who also drove in a run, and from senior Giovanni Cilibrasi and juniors Nicolas Ramirez and Alfred Morales. Senior Nate Nelson also batted in a run.
Senior starting pitcher David Neal Hickman went all seven innings and allowed nine hits and four runs, two of them earned.
Berean Christian 7, Mountain House 6
The Mustangs pounded out 11 hits Tuesday at Berean Christian in Walnut Creek, but it still wasn’t enough as Berean Christian took the 7-6 win on seven base hits.
Junior Ernesto De Leon doubled and singled and drove in three runs, junior Taylor Yuki had three base hits and an RBI, freshman Cameron Valentine had two hits, and senior Jai Nayyar tripled.
Yuki pitched four innings and gave up seven hits and seven runs while striking out eight batters, and sophomore Joseph Higgins pitched two innings with three strikeouts and no runs or hits.
Vacaville Christian 5, Delta Charter 1
The Dragons managed four hits in their road trip to Vacaville Christian High on Tuesday.
Senior Josh Marseline had two hits, and freshman Bailey Bowen and senior Elias Martinez had one hit each. Bowen gave up 11 hits and five runs over six innings and struck out five batters.