Pitman High’s baseball team set out at the beginning of the season intent on bringing home its first Central California Conference championship. Last weekend the Pride (1-1 CCC, 8-2 overall) won their first Pedretti Tournament Championship in what many hope is a good omen for the rest of the year.
So far the Pride are on course to challenge Merced High and Buhach Colony High for the top spot in the CCC. Their two losses this year have been close ones, with Sonora High and Golden Valley High beating them by two points. On Thursday, two days after its first league game with Golden Valley, Pitman avenged its loss to the Cougars with a dominate 11-1 victory.
Six Pitman players, Adam Nascimento, Steven Kha, Brennan Hauser, Zach Olsen, A.J. Derr, and Tyler Arnsberg, ended Thursday’s game with a .500 batting average or better. Nascimento and Kha scored three runs a piece and Olsen and Derr scored two apiece. Nascimento and Olsen also finished the game with two RBIs to their name. Pitman’s runs came in clumps with three in the first and second innings and five in the fourth.
After 10 games Derr has emerged as the team’s most productive player with a .658 batting average, 22 runs, and 11 RBIs. Nascimento is right behind Derr with 15 runs of his own and 11 RBIs as well.
“I’m not too concerned with stats at the moment. I just want to win ball games with the guys I got,” Derr said.
In his final season with Pitman before he joins Point Loma University, Derr said his motivation lies with the camaraderie he shares with his teammates and coaches, particularly head coach Mick Tate who will retire at this season’s end after serving 10 years as Pitman’s head coach.
“He’s been a great coach,” Derr said. “We want to end his reign as a coach with a very successful season and a league championship and hopefully a section run too.”
The Pride will have to take it game by game before the CCC crown can be earned and their next step will be against Buhach on Tuesday and again on Thursday. Buhach is currently tied in first place with Merced. A Pitman sweep over the Thunder would propel the Pride into a first place standing.
Pitman was in a similar situation at this point last season but dropped its first two games against the Thunder. The Pride ended up a game away from winning the CCC title.