Pitman High's Fernando Maldonado scored a hat trick, securing the Pride's roll over win against crosstown and Central California Conference rival Turlock, 5-0, in a matchup at Warrior Stadium on Saturday.
“I just wanted to come out and help the team and make the right decisions and maybe get a goal — but I didn’t expect all three,” said Maldonado.
“It’s always going to be different when you come out and play against Pitman and play here at Stanislaus,” said Turlock head coach Doug Sperry. “It’s a special deal and our guys were excited and looking forward to it but it’s not the start we were looking for, we kind of gave it away with some mistakes and not finishing the last two weeks.”
It took only five minutes for the Pride to get things started when Miguel Galdamez scored from 14 yards out with a far-post shot that went in perfectly.
“I think that first goal helped us, even when you’re up 1-0 you have a slight advantage and that is the case for any team,” said Pitman head coach Oscar Mercado. “If we are down 1-0 then we struggle to come back but this time we were the ones who had that advantage and maximized it.”
The rivalry matchup seemed to bring out more than just a competitive spirit, as local farmers' prayers were answered during the game with an outpouring of rain.
Seven minutes after Pitman notched the first goal, the Pride continued their push and Maldonado scored his first goal of the game.
Turlock rallied and kept the Pride from scoring up to the final 10 minutes of play in the first half, although the Bulldogs saw a few missed opportunities that could have changed the dynamic of the game.
“Really, I don’t think the score reflects how we played in the first half,” Sperry said. “Pitman was more aggressive and they were finishing. We had two or three good looks in the first half where if we put one of those away it is a completely different game, but that is how it goes.”
Pitman turned the jets on at the end and with four minutes left, Maldonado headed in his second goal of the game to put the Pride up 3-0.
“I think since Thursday’s loss our mentality had to change a little bit and we spoke about the game on Friday, and I think they were mentally a little better,” said Mercado. “We just had to let them visualize the game and different situations on the field.”
The second half was Pitman’s game at that point because Turlock had to play from behind, but it was already too late.
“We came off a long week, and Pitman did come out and play well also, but I thought it got off to a slow start and settled in and possession seemed to be even,” Sperry said. “Really, we didn’t play too terrible just after the second goal it got away from us.”
Pitman scored its fourth goal 10 minutes into the second half, and Maldonado finished his hat trick about 11 minutes after, helping the Pride win in clean sheet fashion.
“Fernie [Maldonado] had a good warmup before the game and we spoke to him and he said he was feeling mentally and physically ready,” said Mercado about Maldonado. “We took the risk and it paid off, but I also think it was a whole team effort. The shifting was on, it was just a perfect game today.”
Turlock will host Buhach Colony at 3:30 p.m. Thursday.
Pitman will travel to Merced to take on Merced High at 4 p.m. Thursday.
“We just need to work hard and not think it will be easy, it’s not. We know we need to go out there and work very hard in every game,” Maldonado added. “Gotta keep going and hopefully win CCC, but we can’t stop here.”