Pitman High baseball saw their season come to an end as they fell 7-1 to the Rio Americano Raiders in the second round of the Division II CIF Sac-Joaquin Section playoffs. The Pride were stifled by a dominant pitching performance from Rio Americano’s Caden Beloian, who only surrendered one run across 6 1/3 innings.
The struggles for Pitman came early when Raiders senior Aiden Monette hit roped an RBI single in the second inning off starting pitcher Brandon Leon. Rio Americano refused to lift their collective foot off the gas pedal as they followed up with a four-run rally in the third inning, jumping out to a 5-0 lead.
The 5-0 deficit for the Pride lasted until the sixth inning. Senior Dylan Fuller led off the inning with a double, and after advancing to third base on a balk, scored on a sacrifice fly by junior Drew Walker to make it 5-1.
But just as the Pride were slowly chipping away at the lead, the Raiders came out swinging again in the seventh inning. Rio Americano senior Ryan Christiansen was hit by a pitch to start the inning and used his speed to score on an RBI single by junior Brady Wilson. Wilson scored another run on a passed ball to make it a 7-1 ballgame. Senior Mateo Garcia, who came on in relief of Leon, escaped the inning without further damage.
In the bottom of the seventh, the Pitman offense worked two walks and took another base via a hit batsman, but none of the base runners came around to score, leaving the final score to be 7-1, subsequently ending the Pride’s season.
“They just were the better team today,” said Pitman head coach Andy Walker. “They came out swinging the bats, their energy level was super high, there was hardly enough for us to match it. You just have to tip your cap.”
Walker also took time to reflect on the season and his 2022 roster.
“They're an incredible team. As a coaching staff, we've all been doing this for quite some time, and this is a team ranks up there at the very top with any team that all of us have ever coached. You can’t really ask for a better group of kids,” he said.
He also expressed his appreciation for how his team carried themselves on and off the field throughout the entire year.
“We had phenomenal senior leadership and we’re going to miss our senior captains. Not only that, we had a team average of a 3.8 GPA and 14 players make academic all-league,” Walker said. “We're just super proud of them academically, athletically, for the type of year that they've had, and for the way that they represented Pitman High School.”