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Modesto Babe Ruth comes out strong to take regional opener
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For the Modesto Babe Ruth 16-18-year-old baseball team winning is now a recurring theme. And the players did it again on Thursday night, exploding for eight runs in the first inning of their Pacific Southwest Regional opener against Nevada at Wastonville High in Wastonville. They won 19-1.
In their final two games at the Central California State Tournament in Modesto last week, they came out surging and won with a combined score of 35-1.
On Thursday, Pitman High graduate Nathan Gonzalez pitched three innings and allowed no runs, no hits and no walks with five strikeouts. Coach Bobby Swedberg, also a Pitman assistant, said his ace could have finished with a no-hitter but didn’t think it was necessary. Gonzalez threw only 35 pitches, meaning he can contribute in today’s game against Wastonville at 8 p.m. in the second round of the winners’ bracket of the eight-team, double-elimination tournament.
“He came ready,” Swedberg said.
Gonzalez’s teammates took some pressure off by jumping out to an 8-0 lead in the first inning. They followed it with two four-run innings before scoring two in the fourth and one in the fifth to end the game because of the mercy rule.
“When there’s an eight-run lead, good things are going to happen,” Swedberg added.
Austin Keaton (Pitman) went 3-for-4 with two RBIs and three runs scored, Eli Davis (Turlock Christian High) went 3-for-4 with three doubles, two runs and five RBIs and Eddie McGrath went 2-for-3 with a triple, one home run, two runs and three RBIs.
Denair High graduate Dylan Werner relieved in the fourth, allowing one hit and no runs.
Modesto, which boasts a half-dozen players from Turlock and Denair, aims to successfully defend its regional title with goals of making it back to the World Series title game for the second consecutive year.
To contact Chhun Sun, e-mail or call 634-9141 ext. 2041.