This week Ricky Diaz stepped up to launch a couple balls over the home field’s right field fence, first against West on Monday and again on Wednesday with a game-ending grand slam against the Titans from Cesar Chavez High School. They’re his second and third home runs of the season and Diaz’ two other hits on Wednesday put him over the.400 batting average mark along with Brandon Jossey and Tanner Turner.
That’s the kind of hitting Tracy (17-6, 6-1 SJAA) will need as it gets ready to face Lodi next week and play for the Bulldogs’ post-season future. Tracy’s 13-1 win on Wednesday was a good start.
“It’s a pretty good test for us,” Diaz said. “We should beat this team so we’re playing pretty good ball right now. We just need to keep it up.”
The Lodi Flames started the week in first place in the San Joaquin Athletic Association, with Lincoln and Tracy tied for second. Lincoln beat Lodi on Wednesday to create a three-way tie for first. Assuming Tracy wins again on Friday, the Bulldogs will be in a two way tie for first with whoever wins the Lincoln vs. Lodi game on Friday.
Either way, Tracy’s games against Lodi next week will determine the Bulldogs post-season destiny. The Bulldogs learned last year that the Titans can’t be taken for granted. As the SJAA moved into the second half of the 2008 season the Titans played a close game with at Chavez’ home field and then took a win in Tracy.
“We’re just trying to keep our focus, no matter who the team is. That’s why we scheduled West for Monday and Tokay for Saturday to keep us sharp,” coach Vic Alkire said, adding that the team learned last year to not take any game for granted.
“Chavez can step up and bite you,” he said, recalling that the Bulldogs and Titans split their two games last year. “Our main thing this week is keep our focus.”
On Wednesday Tracy kept the Titans in check as winning pitcher Kyle Hassna threw six strikeouts in four innings and gave up three hits. Tracy took a two-run lead in the first after Kyle Moses doubled to lead off the inning and came around when Jossey reached on an infield error. Diaz singled up the middle to bring in Moses, and Hassna singled to score Jossey.
In the second inning, Turner walked, Jacob Valdez, Diaz and Hassna singled and Kyle Moses and Jossey were hit by pitches. Valdez’ single brought in two runs, Hassna knocked in two more and Daniel Heefner drove in another.
Tracy scored again in the third after Turner reached on a fielder’s choice and came around to third on a passed ball. Moses singled and when he went to steal second Chavez catcher Casey Jardim tried to throw him out. Turner ran for home ahead of the throw back to the plate. That allowed Moses to reach third and he scored on Valdez sacrifice fly.
Chavez scored its only run in the fifth when a batter walked with two out and Jardim hit a double out to the right field fence to bring in the run.
In the bottom of the fifth Tracy’s Robert Emerson walked, Moses reached on an infield error and Jossey singled to left field to load the bases with two out. Diaz then hit an outside fastball over the right field fence, which ended the game on the 10-run rule.
• Contact Bob Brownne at 830-4227 or firstname.lastname@example.org.