Pitman High senior pitcher Brett Hagen is clutch.
Hagen pitched a complete game shutout and also had the only RBI of Tuesday’s first round home matchup against Tracy in the Division-II Sac-Joaquin Section playoffs in what resulted in a close 1-0 final.
“I wouldn’t say I was nervous, I think at the start of the year we had a lot of motivation being the team with not too many returners, a rebuild year or whatnot, but I think all that motivated us to get better,” said Hagen. “Every day we were motivated and we just kept playing hard every game.”
“We talked about it, and it is our ninth one-run victory we have had this year so I told them all along with the type of pitching we have that I envisioned us being in a lot of one-run games,” said Pitman head coach Andy Walker. “I wasn’t wrong and this is what it took to win the CCC, but to keep playing you have to raise it because all these teams are good and we are going to get their best.”
The Pride advance in the tournament to take on No. 4 Granite Bay.
Pitman came out ready to play on Tuesday, led by Hagen.
Hagen was also named the Central California Conference Most Valuable Player after the senior went 8-1 and accumulated an ERA of 1.01 after tossing a team-high 55 and 2/3 innings. Opponents hit .211 against him.
He showed why he earned these honors on Tuesday.
Hagen managed to get out of early trouble when two runners were in scoring position with one out in the top of the first.
Hagen struck out the final two batters faced to end the inning scoreless.
Tracy starting pitcher lefty Matt Nunes almost matched Hagen despite allowing a run, but he kept the Pride batters at bay.
It wasn’t until the bottom of the fourth when the only run of the game was scored.
Mac Cabero of Pitman got on base after getting hit-by-pitch. Following the first out, Hagen came up to the plate with Cabero making his way to third.
From there Hagen ripped an RBI single to the deep right center gap that drove in Cabero to make it 1-0.
“Runner on third late in the game, I was just thinking what a better time to step up and get an RBI for the team,” said Hagen. “I was very comfortable out there… I was also trying to mix up my pitches and keep them off balance, rely on my defense, and thankfully we got a 1-0 win.”
Tracy nearly evened out the game in the top of the seventh when their lead off batter got on base following an error.
He would eventually reach third base with no outs.
Hagen came up big for his squad after he got three of the final four batters faced out with clutch pitching.
“It was a challenge for me at the end,” said Hagen about the final three outs. “I like to step up to plate when I am in those situations and just great to get the win how that happened, crazy last inning.”
Pitman will next travel on the road to take on No. 4 Granite Bay at 4 p.m. Thursday.
“Like we told them, you are playing the top eight teams in the section, so now are part of that top eight,” said Walker. “So, I think long as we keep playing our style of baseball… our kids are tough and resilient and they will always give us a shot. I like our odds, they will come out ready to play.”