In Monday’s Modesto Bee, Beyer High baseball coach Dom Duran called his shot, predicting the Patriots would win the 45th Dick Windemuth Easter Tournament.
“I knew I was going to take some grief from my fellow coaches for saying that, but I was willing to take it,” said Duran. “I was more excited for my kids to read it, and show them how much faith I have in them. That was the real reason I did it.”
Whatever the reason, it worked.
Beyer High completed a perfect run in the Windemuth tournament, beating Tracy 5-2 on Thursday at Modesto High School to capture the championship trophy.
“After I hung up the phone Sunday night, I kind of second-guessed myself,” said Duran, whose team improves to 15-7 and resumes Modesto Metro Conference play on Tuesday. “But I let it settle in and I was good with it.
“And the kids made sure to remind me of it.”
When pitcher Micah Hall was reminded of the coach’s prediction after his 84-pitch, complete-game gem, he rolled his eyes and chuckled.
“That was a big statement,” said Hall, who scattered four hits, fanned five, walked one and allowed two unearned runs. “We knew as a team we had to back it up. I mean, how would it look if we didn’t win it?
“But it shows he has confidence in us.”
Duran continued to show confidence in his group, even when falling behind 2-0 in the fourth inning. On his way out to the third-base coach’s box, Duran turned and said to his players, “Two’s not enough. It’s not enough.” Translation: It would take more than two runs to beat the Patriots.
Again, Duran was right.
Trailing 2-1 in the bottom of the fifth, Beyer erupted for four runs as Tracy used three pitchers in the frame.
Starter Thomas Greely began the inning, but after a leadoff single to No. 9 hitter Gavin Orique, he was lifted after throwing two balls to Connor Crawford. Chaz Samaniego inherited the 2-0 count and walked Crawford. Michael Maddox then laid down a perfect bunt in the Bermuda Triangle between home, the mound and third base, for a single to load the bases with no outs.
“I gave him one chance to drag bunt and then I put the sacrifice on,” said Duran. “And he put down a perfect bunt.”
Sophomore Jack Large struck out before Jordan Walls hit a tapper back to the mound. Samaniego fielded it and threw home, but the throw hit catcher Anthony Nunez in the mask and Orique slid in with the tying run. With Logan Smith in the box, Crawford dashed home, and everybody else moved up a bag, on a passed ball, then Smith crushed a 2-2 fastball over the center fielder’s head to plate the final two, chasing Samaniego.
“I know, and everybody else in that dugout knows, that our coach has confidence in this team,” said Smith, who drove the ball through a 15-mph wind. “This win shows that we’re a better team than we were at the beginning of the season.”
The Patriots halved the lead in the bottom of the fourth when Jordan Pugh stroked a two-out, two-strike RBI single.
“I haven’t been hitting that great lately, and it felt great to finally come through,” said Pugh, who struck out in his other two plate appearances. “When we loaded the bases, I knew it was an important at-bat, and that I needed to get things started. With two strikes, I widen my stance, expect fastball and adjust to the curve. I got a fastball.”
Hall, meanwhile, looked stronger as the game progressed. He had one-two-three innings in the fifth and sixth and would’ve retired the side in order in the seventh if not for a throwing error.
“He’s not an overpowering pitcher but he stays around the strike zone and he doesn’t hurt himself by putting men on base,” said Tracy coach Vic Alkire, father of Modesto High football coach Richie Alkire. “His offspeed pitches really complement his fastball, keeping our hitters off balance. He did a really nice job.”
After the victory, as the players rushed to grab their championship T-shirts, Duran was dismayed to learn all the extra-large shirts had been taken.
“That’s OK,” he told an assistant. “As long as the kids get their shirts.”
And there you have it: When a team has your back, you give them the shirt off yours.
Turlock 14, Downey 4 – Blake Cederlind went the distance and ran his record to 6-0 this season, leading the Bulldogs past Downey.
Cederlind got all the support he would need, and then some, in a seven-run first inning. Turlock would go on to add a run in the fourth , three in the fifth and three in the sixth to win the game via the mercy rule.
Nick Gonzales belted a homer and drove in two, while Brett Cumberland and Austin Bush had two hits apiece.
Gregori 8, Central Catholic 3 – Gregori scored four in the third and four in the fourth to take a commanding 8-0 lead in handing the Raiders their third loss of the tournament. Central Catholic (17-4) entered the Windemuth with just one loss.
Todd Stewart belted a solo homer for the Jags, while Hector Guerrero, Andrew Urrutia and Dominic Carrillo (three RBIs) had two hits apiece. Tyler Janitz knocked in two runs. Matt Clark was 2-for-4 with a homer for CC, while Ryan Vierra was 2-for-3 with a pair of doubles.
In other games, Enochs beat Escalon 5-4, Ripon defeated Modesto 6-3 and Pitman beat Davis 18-0.