The Turlock Christian baseball team kept the good times rolling as they took down the Mendota Aztecs in the opening game of the Division V CIF Northern California Regional playoffs. The Eagles once again saw a stellar pitching performance from junior Gavin Farinha, who tossed six shutout frames.
Farinha dominating for TC is nothing new to the rest of the team, but a major difference in Tuesday night’s contest was run support. After scoring one run in the section championship game, the Eagles offense exploded to score six against Mendota.
The scoring was started by freshman Xavier Ruezga, who smacked a two-run double to center field. A sacrifice fly by senior Matt Leonesio extended the early lead to 3-0.
Ruezga spoke about the early aggressiveness from their offense after only getting one run across their last game.
“When we were able to get the bases loaded, the approach at the plate was to just put the ball in play,” Ruezga said. “It was really good to give us that cushion early.”
The scoring for the Eagles continued in the fourth inning when freshman Beau Blake singled on Farinha to make it a 4-0 game. That score stood until the fifth inning when Leonesio hit an RBI single and senior Colin Willingham scored on a Mendota defensive error, making it 6-0.
Head coach Bill York expressed his satisfaction on seeing his offense come to life.
“Run support is always key. After a 1-0 section championship and a 1-0 game to win the league championship, it’s kind of nice to get a little bit of breathing room,” York joked.
As for Farinha, he continued to pitch through sixth innings, striking out six batters in the process. The seventh inning of work was handed to senior Myles Jenkins, who retired the Aztecs in order to end the game.
Farinha spoke about the way his offense was able to pick him up in Tuesday’s game and how they look to keep the momentum going forward.
“Yesterday we had batting practice and guys were just smoking the ball everywhere, so I knew we had a chance to come up big offensively,” he said. “My team just motivates me so much. I want to bring a state title for my school. We’ve come this far, so why not go all the way?”
TC will look to continue their playoff run when they take on Berean Christian in the second round of the regional bracket. The game is scheduled for 6 p.m. Thursday at Pedretti Park in Turlock.