Both Turlock and Pitman High’s baseball programs have solidified themselves atop the Central California Conference, and this past week both squads proved why they are to be considered teams to be reckoned with.
The Bulldogs and Pride each picked up back-to-back wins this week after each handled their CCC foes with ease.
The ‘Dogs defeated the Thunder, 2-1, at home on Wednesday and then shutout Merced, 6-0, on Thursday to end the week on a nine-game winning streak, having won 10 of their last 11 games.
“It was a great week for us overall,” Turlock head coach Mark de la Motte said.
After the big wins for Turlock, the Bulldogs have a comfortable (11-1), but not secure, two-game lead ahead of Merced (9-3).
Brett Cumberland of Turlock is on a nine-game hitting streak and has reached base safely in 11 consecutive games.
“We are peaking at the right time, we want to keep improving as the season moves on. I am happy we got four games next week and, hopefully, we keep it going,” de la Motte said. “We have a little ways to go but we gave ourselves a solid chance after this huge week for us.”
In Wednesday’s game against the Thunder, Turlock’s Nick Gonzales tossed 5 2/3 innings as he picked up the win after allowing only one earned run, two walks and striking out six. Rob Domingos got the save after pitching 1 1/3, allowing just a hit and walk.
“Pitching led to pretty good defense, not too difficult, easy plays and we made them all; it was a combination,” said de la Motte.
Both runs came in the first inning after Jon Temple and Nick Benson launched back-to-back RBI singles, and from there on Gonzales and Domingos did their job and shutdown the Thunder offense.
Thursday’s game at Merced was a bit of a lopsided victory for the ‘Dogs against the second team in league as Blake Cederlind tossed a complete game shutout, allowed only two hits, walked three and managed to strike out seven.
Pitman was home on Tuesday as they obliterated Buhach Colony, 12-3, followed by a 9-3 win at Golden Valley, accumulating 25 hits in the two contests.
“The boys played well and I am very proud of how they bounced back this week,” Pitman head coach John Acha said.
Pitman is now 6-6 in the CCC, one game behind Atwater (7-5) and have won two straight after Thursday.
It was really an offensive surge along with stellar pitching for the Pride who were on it, starting off with a 12-3 victory over Buhach on Tuesday after Josh Hernandez pitched a complete game to get the win and allowed only two earned runs to go with his eight strikeouts.
“Our pitching was key to our success this week. Josh Hernandez did an outstanding job against Buhach, throwing a complete game and all,” Acha said.
Colten Horner and Zach Wichman each rallied up three RBI apiece as the team tallied 13 hits.
In Wednesday’s CCC contest at Golden Valley, the Pride notched three runs in the first inning as they launched their way into the win after totaling 12 hits for the game.
Matt Carrigg added on three RBI safter a multi-hit day, while Horner and Wichman added on two RBIs each.
“Having Zach Wichman back and healthy was also big for us. He was solid at the plate,” said Acha. “Winning these two games and knowing our playoff hopes are still alive will hopefully give us a boost going into the final stretch of the season.”
Both Turlock and Pitman will compete in the Dick Windemuth Tournament in Modesto this upcoming week with the first game set for Monday between Turlock and Tracy High. Pitman will take on Johansen on Tuesday.