Fourth seed Hilmar High baseball came up short in the opening round of the CIF Sac Joaquin Section Division V playoffs against fifth seed Ben Holt College Prep Academy on Wednesday. However, there was a lot to celebrate this season for Yellowjackets.
“Overall, we had a great season,” said head coach Jeff Brown. “It had been six years since Hilmar was in the playoffs and 18 years since we had a piece of the TVL championship so I’m extremely proud of these players, our coaching staff and how the community and our administration have supported us.”
Right off the gate the Yellowjackets played with some inconsistency on defense and Ben Holt was able to get on the board early in the first inning. After that run, it was a stalemate between the two teams for the next couple of innings, with not a lot of hits.
After a double by Matt Avila in the fourth, the Yellowjackets had a runner in scoring position. Lane Cardoso hit a ball into right field and Avila tried his opportunity to score. After a close call at the plate, he was called out and it stopped the nice inning Hilmar put together.
“Unfortunately, when Matt Avila was called out at the plate he had a collision with their catcher and was ultimately ejected from the game,” said Brown. “It really stopped the momentum we were starting to build up and we just couldn’t recover.”
Ben Holt went to score two more runs in the fifth to extend their lead. The Yellowjackets kept fighting and got their first run off of an RBI from Jason Pimentel. The game was opened up by Ben Holt in the sixth though, when they scored four runs to put some distance between the teams. The Yellowjackets scored two more runs in the seventh, but it wasn’t enough and they ended their season with the 3-7 loss.
Starting pitcher John King went five innings and gave up two runs on two hits. He had another unearned run, five walks and eight strikeouts. Pimentel went 1-3 with an RBI.
“Have to give credit to their pitcher, he did a heck of a job,” said Brown. “Easily one of the best pitchers we’ve faced all year and he kept our hitters off balance. King battled for us but we weren’t able to play clean defense behind him and his pitch count got high fairly early in the game.”