Ceres High’s Dylan Canatsy is quite used to having his name misspelled.
Several times in past issues of this very newspaper, the letters of his surname have been transposed to spell Canasty.
“I get that a lot,” said Canatsy. “At school they actually call me D-Nasty.”
Well, for this purposes of this report, his name should be misspelled yet again, because he was absolutely Ca-nasty in shutting down Central Catholic in a 10-0 Western Athletic Conference baseball victory.
After suffering an 11-6 loss in nine innings on Monday, the Bulldogs came back with an emphatic statement on Tuesday to claim a share of the WAC title.
Both Ceres and Central Catholic finish with an 11-1 league mark.
“I told you we were a resilient bunch,” said a beaming John Bussard, who was quoted in Tuesday’s Bee regarding his team’s ability to bounce back from such a disheartening loss.
The teams will meet for a third time today as they head back to Ceres’ Art McRae Field for a game that will decide the league’s No. 1 playoff seed.
First pitch is at 4 p.m.
“I was very impressed with (Canatsy); my hat is off to him,” said Central Catholic coach Mike Glines, who literally doffed his hat in the direction of the Bulldogs’ dugout. “Sometimes, you just have to tip your cap to the other guy.”
Canatsy, a left-hander, allowed just three hits, struck out two and induced seven fly balls to the outfield. Balls lifted out there may have found gaps on other days, but into a stiff breeze Tuesday, they were beat back and fell harmlessly into Ceres mitts.
“I was disappointed with the way we competed today,” said Glines, who wrapped up a share of his 16th consecutive conference title with Monday’s win. “You’ve got to get humbled sometimes to see what your character is like. We’ll find out tomorrow.”
The Raiders’ only threat came in the first inning when third baseman Jonathan Weatherred reached on a fielder’s choice and moved into scoring position on a passed ball. Canatsy got a strikeout to escape, and the game was scoreless until Ceres erupted for five runs in the fourth inning.
Alan Marquez had an RBI single to get things started, Canatsy followed with a two-run double, and Merrick Price and Brad Bussard also produced run-scoring singles. Five more runs in the sixth meant the Raiders had to score at least once to prevent the mercy-rule from ending the game.
Canatsy, who improved his record to 3-1, had pitched less than 20 innings this entire season, striking out (16) nearly as many as he’d walked (15) coming into the game. In fact, upon leaving the diamond after Monday’s loss, Bussard intended to go with his son, junior Brad Bussard, the staff co-ace (along with Marquez) who’s been battling inflammation in his rotator cuff.
So, when did Coach Bussard come up with the idea to throw Canatsy?
“At about 12 today when I stopped being a coach and started being a dad,” said Bussard, whose voice cracked with emotion as he explained. “As a coach, I thought throwing Brad was the smartest decision. As a father, I had to look at his future.
“It was very hard, knowing how competitive he is. After what happened (Monday), he was begging for the ball. I had to sit him down, and that eats you up.”
Brad Bussard said he pleaded his case all morning.
“Yeah, we kinda went at it,” said the younger Bussard. “I finally said, ‘OK, you’re the coach. I’ll listen to you.’ It turned out to be the right decision. If I pitch, no way we’re the team that we were today.”
For this afternoon’s rubber match, Glines said he’ll most likely go with left-hander Matt Clark, who earned the victory Monday.
And as for Ceres …
“I’ll plead with him again tonight,” said Brad Bussard. “But I guarantee he’s going to say, ‘Save it for the playoffs.’ ”