High School Sports

They hadn’t won a title since 1994. Find out who helped Los Banos snap that streak.

Friends and family were chanting, “Max, Max, Max.”

Some wanted a photo with Los Banos pitcher Max Ramirez.

One wanted an autograph from the senior..

Everyone wanted Ramirez’s attention after he threw a complete game shutout to lead the Tigers to their first CIF Sac-Joaquin Section Championship since 1994 with a 3-0 win over Central Catholic in the Div. IV title game at Tony Zupo Field on Monday.

“It was an amazing day,” Ramirez said. “With all of the fans in the background, I was pumped and I gave it my all, especially for the last pitch.”

Ramirez retired 11 Raiders’ batters at one point and allowed only three hits while striking out 11, including the final batter.

“He told us he was ready,” Tigers coach Pat Fuentes said. “In our first game against them (4-3 win on May 18), he couldn’t find his curveball. Today, it was beautiful to watch.”

Ramirez, who transferred to Los Banos (28-1) for his final year after spending his first three seasons at Watsonville High School, also had a two-run double in the bottom of the sixth.

“This is my family and I am so happy to have met all my teammates and coaches,” he said. “It was one heck of a year.”

Maybe there wasn’t a single person with more emotion after the game than Fuentes, who was a junior on the school’s last championship team.

“This was a special group,” he said. “It all started with work. This team never tried to cut corners with anything (practice, workouts, etc).”

Sophomore catcher Chase Wilson had a sacrifice fly in the bottom of the first for the Tigers for the game’s other run.

Junior pitcher Dalton Durossette threw a complete game for the Raiders (18-13), who were looking to win their first section title since 2009. Durossette allowed only four hits and struck out three.

After speaking with the media, Ramirez ran back to the field to more fans wanting photos.

“It was the greatest game of my life,” he said.

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Julian A. Lopez has been covering local sports for The Modesto Bee since August 2018. He graduated from Arizona State in 2016 with a BA in Journalism.