Central Catholic baseball coach Danny Ayala said Thursday his team’s four wins over Valley Oak League foes Manteca and Oakdale in early May built confidence.
Without those wins, the Raiders might have been outside looking in come playoff time.
Fast forward a couple of weeks and the Raiders (16-11) are back in the semifinals for the first time since 2013 after beating Sonora 4-2 in the CIF Sac-Joaquin Section Division IV playoffs.
“We are executing and playing good baseball,” Ayala said. “We are taking advantage of opportunities.”
Central Catholic had eight stolen bases in the win and moved runners with timely hits.
After Sonora scored one in the top of the first on a Tyler Matyshock RBI single, junior second baseman Dalton Durossette tied the game with a RBI single up the middle.
The game remained knotted until the Raiders scored three in the bottom of the fifth. After stealing second and then advancing to third on an error, Durossette scored on a Tyler Van Dyk sacrifice fly.
A few batters later, freshman right fielder Aiden Taylor ripped a line drive to left that scored two more.
Raiders junior starting pitcher Connor Semone allowed a run on an infield single in the sixth but retired the final four batters of the game and threw a complete game with three strikeouts.
“He (Semone) has been doing it all year,” Ayala said. “He always wants the ball in his hands and when he does, we feel good.”
Central Catholic will face No. 1 seed Los Banos at 4 p.m. Monday at Zupo Field in Lodi.
Jesuit 4, Turlock 2: Seniors Casey Carr and Garret Fountain both had RBIs but the Bulldogs (22-7) allowed four unanswered in the loss.
Rain again postpones baseball and softball playoffs: The weather hasn’t been in the favor of high school athletics as for the second day in a row, playoff games were postponed till Friday.
Gregori and Oakdale both had their games moved as well as all Div. V and VI softball playoff games, which had already been postponed from Wednesday.
The section also announced all baseball games scheduled for Saturday will now be played on Monday.
CCAL announces baseball and softball awards: The Central California Athletic League announced its league MVP’s for baseball and softball Thursday and both are Turlock Bulldogs.
Junior catcher Tyler Soderstom currently the Bulldogs in batting average (.468), and RBIs (27) and is second on the team with four home runs and was honored for his efforts.
Turlock coach Sean Gilbert was named Coach of the Year while Bulldogs’ seniors Justin Hines and Casey Carr were named the Defensive Player of the Year and Pitcher of the Year, respectively. Carr hasn’t allowed an earned run in 35 1/3 innings this year.
Pitman senior shortstop Mac Cabero was named the league’s Offensive Player of the Year after hitting .413 with 15 RBIs and 25 runs scored.
Long Beach State signee Shelby Frutoz was 15-5 with a 1.05 earned run average and struck out 223 in 133 1/3 innings and was named MVP on the softball side.
Enochs sophomores Chloe Wong and Gwynn Ludwig were honored as the Offensive and Defensive Players of the Year, respectively, and Eagles senior Raquel Chaidez was named the Pitcher of the Year.
Downey coach Jeff Aguirre and Enochs coach Moises Martinez were named Co-Head Coaches of the Year.
After throwing a no-hitter on Wednesday, Oakdale senior Lexy Webb was named the Valley Oak League’s MVP. Webb has a batting average over .630 and a 0.52 ERA. She has signed with Fresno State.
Mustangs senior Brittany Bye was the VOL’s Defensive Player of the Year and Larry Loger was named the Coach of the Year.