The Pitman High varsity baseball team had no problem shutting out El Capitan, 7-0, on Wednesday. When it came time for the Pride to repeat the performance on Friday, they found a much tougher Gauchos team.
The Pride, who were coming into Friday’s series closer with just one league loss, trailed Turlock by one game in the top of the Central California Conference, and needed a win to stay in the hunt for a league title. However, El Capitan played spoiler to Pitman’s league title plans.
The Gauchos came in on fire from the onset scoring first, and despite Pitman taking a one-run lead in the bottom half of the third, EC went on to outscore the Pride 4-0 in the final four innings to secure the 5-2 upset.
“El Cap came out swinging and Whitaker threw pretty well. We didn’t play our best baseball today but they just beat us,” said Pitman head coach John Acha. “They too had a lot on the line and they played like it.”
The Pride fell to 8-2 in the CCC while Turlock improved to 10-0, clinching the co-title regardless of the upcoming crosstown series outcome.
Pitman needs to sweep Turlock next week to have a chance at being a co-champion of the CCC.
“Hopefully we can finish the season strong,” said Acha. “We’ve been a pretty resilient team this year and that’s what I have admired about our guys. I have no doubt we will be ready to play and compete on Monday against Turlock.”
EC managed to outhit Pitman 11-4 in Friday’s game.
It didn’t help that starter Chase Whitaker was nearly untouchable for the Gauchos after he pitched five innings, allowing no earned runs on four hits.
Pitman started Brett Hagen on the mound and he went 6 and 2/3 innings, allowing five earned runs on 11 hits with two walks.
Six of the 10 batters for Pitman were held hitless for the game.
EC also committed three errors to Pitman’s 0.
“This team has been really fun to coach because of how hard they’ve worked this year,” said Acha. “Some small mistakes hurt us early and El Cap just found a lot of holes and had some timely hits.”
EC scored at least one run or more in three of the final four innings of the game to end it.
The Pride snapped their three-game win streak with the loss.
With the conclusion of Friday’s games, Turlock and Pitman still own the stingiest defense, having allowed the first and second least runs in the CCC.
Pitman will host Turlock in the first of a two-game series at 4 p.m. Monday.