The still league perfect Pitman High varsity baseball team saw mixed results at the San Luis Obispo Tournament over spring break.
The Pride started off with a 2-1 loss to Marina of Huntington Beach on Wednesday, followed by a 5-2 win over St. Bonaventure and then a loss to San Luis Obispo, 7-1, in Thursday's doubleheader.
All this led to the final game of the tourney against Fountain Valley, where the Pride managed to overcome an early deficit and fight their way back to win a close 8-7 contest.
“To go 2-2 and to play tough and nearly went 3-1, but more about when we were down was the resilience of coming back even against Marina. They battled,” said Pitman head coach John Acha. “Especially today down 5-1 and to battle back again and keep scrapping, I think we ended on high note and hopefully we’ll carry that into league next week.”
The Pride are now 11-7 overall and a perfect 4-0 in league games.
Wednesday's opener against Marina saw Jack Wheeland start for the Pride and he allowed just two runs in five innings.
Marina took an early 2-0 lead heading into the sixth when finally, in the seventh, Pitman pressed late to rally but just managed to get one run.
Two runners were left in scoring position, as the game ended 2-1.
“Close call that didn't go our way but ended well and carried over into the next game the next day,” said Acha.
Mac Cabero was 2-for-3 and MJ Duarte came in to pitch the sixth inning.
On Thursday, Pitman met one of the most prestigious athletic programs in Southern California in St. Bonaventure.
Luckily, they were at full strength backed by a great start from Tyler Stout, who went five innings.
“We ended up getting the bats to come alive,” said Acha.
Pitman went up 1-0 then heading into the fifth. The Pride led 4-1 eventually securing the win with an insurance run in the fifth.
“More of a complete game, defense offense and pitching,” said Acha. “We really came alive with the bats, up and down the lineup, everyone seemed to get on base… one of the better games of the year.”
Seven out of nine players got at least a hit for the Pride.
Brett Hagen came in and shut down the last two innings in just 12 pitches for Pitman, securing the win over SB.
Later in the afternoon, the Pride met San Luis Obispo and never really got things rolling.
“I didn't think it was a bad start but there were times we didn't make plays and played some messy ball and they jumped out to an early lead and it was tough to bounce back like that,” said Acha. “We were a bit stale and they put two runs in second. We were not prepared in that game and didn't have bats going.”
As a team, Pitman put up eight hits against SLO, but never really found a groove.
SLO scored one or more runs in four out of six innings.
In Friday's finale against Fountain Valley, the Pride went down early, 5-1, after just two innings.
MJ Duarte started and tossed five total innings for the game.
“When you play four games in a row you stretch your pitching and he was one we had to rely on and he stepped up to the challenge,” said Acha of Duarte. “He had a great week on the mound.”
Hagen came in to relieve Duarte and closed out the game in the sixth and seventh.
Down 5-1 by the start of the fifth, Pitman added four runs in the top half and evened the game at 5-5.
By the start of the fifth, FV had stretched the lead to 6-5 before the Pride rallied in the sixth.
Jordan Lavezzo drilled an RBI hit to tie it then Lavezzo scored the go-ahead on a squeeze bunt.
Gerry Ramos came in to score the eighth and final run after Hagen squeezed him in.
“Great small ball and we did a great job executing,” said Acha.
Hagen had a smooth sixth and seventh, ending the game with three straight infield outs in the seventh, leaving a runner stranded at second to secure the 8-7 win.
“All of the outs were a bit dramatic there at the end,” said Acha.
For the week, Hagen went 5-for-8 with four RBI and teammates Brandon Pacheco was 5-for-7 with two doubles and two RBI.
“Those were the two big hitters otherwise all were steady and were big sparks for us,” Acha added.
Pitman's next game will be on the road at Merced at 4 p.m. Monday.