HUGHSON — The Hughson High baseball team knows that leads can be fleeting.
The Huskies won their first eight Trans-Valley League games before losing their last three. They'd gone from running away with the league title to just a game ahead of three teams.
Those nerves got a little tighter after Ripon rallied to within a run in their key TVL game Tuesday afternoon. But that was as close as the Indians would get.
Zack Adams scored all the way from first base thanks to a wild carom off a short fly ball to center field, and Hughson escaped with a 5-3 victory over Ripon at Hughson High School.
With the victory, Hughson (15-8, 9-3) maintained first place, knocking off one of the three second-place teams in Ripon (11-8, 7-5). With three games left in TVL play, the Huskies lead Ripon Christian and Escalon by one game in what has become a wild race.
"This was a huge game for us," Hughson coach Marcel Avila said. "After three losses in a row, it's almost like you'd forgotten how to win. But the kids pulled through, they played well."
Hughson jumped out to a 4-0 lead after the first two innings, with Jake Etcheverry scoring twice and Adams driving him in both times.
But the Indians rallied behind back-to-back home runs by Zach McCormick and Logan Smith. But while they pulled within 4-3, the Indians never could tie it up.
"It got interesting when they got close," Hughson center fielder Aaron Stice said. "But we still had the lead."
After starting pitcher Archie Quay went 4 2/3 innings, sophomore reliever Jason Meyer finished it out for the save. There may have been some nerves, but, Stice said, that was as far as it got.
"We're not a super nervous-type of team," Stice said. "We're pretty loose out there."