At this point in the season, every win is critical for West (13-10 overall, 3-3 Tri-City Athletic League), which started the league season with a pair of losses to league leader St. Mary’s and then suffered a loss last week at Edison High.
With four league games left, including another against McNair in Stockton on Thursday, a makeup game against Stagg, and two games next week against Tokay, West has to keep winning in the race against Tokay for a spot in the Sac-Joaquin Section playoffs.
“Even if we had won both games against Edison last week, these games still matter. We’ve got no wiggle room,” coach Stephen Theall said. “We’ve got to make sure we come out and take care of business every time, and that’s what we did today.”
Hernandez did his part with four no-hit innings over the Eagles. McNair got on base twice in the fourth inning when batters were hit by pitches, and one got as far as third base before the inning ended with Hernandez’s fourth strikeout of the game.
“I felt comfortable because the infield was working and the outfielders were there for me too,” Hernandez said, adding that the team can’t take anything for granted at this point in the season.
“It’s just clinch. We have to come back to win league and be in the playoffs.”
McNair’s only base hit was off closing pitcher Derek Oetken in the fifth inning on a hard-hit shot between first and second. Second baseman Joey Wagner made a diving stop on the ball, but was unable to make the throw to first in time for the out.
West’s contributions at the plate came from Jordan Devencenzi, who tripled in the first inning to drive in West’s first two runs.
Jacob Lopez hit an RBI double to right-center in the third, and Sal Alvarado hit a two-RBI single in the third.
West rallied again in the fourth inning on a triple from Jonathan Townsend, a single from Oetken and a double down the left-field line from Nate Trujillo. Eric Gleese also had two base hits and batted in two runs.
Sophomores: West 12, McNair 3
Jaylen Ransome pitched a no-hitter Tuesday at home against McNair, while West’s batters combined for 11 hits. The win puts West at 5-2 in TCAL with three games left in the season.
Ransome said afterward that confidence from the Wolf Pack’s fifth win in a row will help the team in its last week, and the team chemistry showed Tuesday.
“My team really backed me up,” Ransome said. “They were encouraging me and helped me gain confidence.”
Leading batters for West included Johnny Gori, who had three base hits; Matt Durant, who single and tripled; Steven Gonzalvez, who singled and doubled; and Ransome, who helped his own cause on the mound with a double.
While McNair didn’t get any hits, the Eagles did draw two walks, had a batter hit by a pitch, and had one reach on a fielder’s choice. McNair made the most of its opportunities to bring three of those runners around to score.
Big Valley 14, Millennium 9
The Falcons (10-6 overall, 7-3 Harvest Christian League) outhit Big Valley 8-7, but the Lions benefitted from 12 walks and seven Falcons errors to take the game in Modesto on Tuesday.
It breaks a seven-game winning streak for Millennium, which faces Big Valley again at home Friday at the Tracy Learning Center.
Millennium had an 8-6 lead after the top of the fourth inning, but the Lions rallied for three runs in the bottom of the fourth and for five more in the fifth.
Johnny Rojas started on the mound for Millennium, pitched 1-1/3 innings and allowed two hits and gave up five runs, four of them earned. Tanner Carroll pitched 2-2/3 innings and took the loss after giving up four hits and eight runs, five of them earned. Mike Lavarias pitched the final two innings and held the Lions to one hit and one run.
Top batters for the Falcons were Daniel Yanez, who had three base hits and batted in two; Jamani Woods, who had two hits and two RBIs; and Austin Larson, who doubled and drove in a run.
Freshmen: Kimball 19, West 12
The Jaguars claimed their first win at Tracy Ball Park on Monday, putting the new team at 1-15 for the season. The Kimball batters did their job against their rivals from West High (2-19).
West got on the scoreboard with Jacob Thomassen’s RBI single in the first inning. But Kimball responded with a four-run rally, which included an RBI double for Kyle Pajarillo and RBIs for Nathan Van Katwyk and Jacob Salazar.
Chase Martinez hit a three-run homer for West to tie it at 4-4 in the second, but Kimball again responded, putting up another run in the second with an RBI single from Ismael Gutierrez.
West’s Jackson Nott scored in the third after he reached base on a dropped third strike and advanced on an error.
Kimball’s Van Katwyk led off the third with a home run.
West’s Kevin Oetken drove in a run in the fourth on a sacrifice fly, and Kimball answered with a five-run rally in the fourth that started with back-to-back triples for Corbin Lis and Logan Finley, a double for Van Katwyk, and a two-RBI single for Salazar. Nathan Pearlman’s three-run homer put Kimball up 14-6 at the end of five.
West followed with a five-run sixth inning, sparked by base hits from Cameron Naraval, Martinez and Oetken, a two-RBI double from Shay Lafever and a double by Noah Encarnacion.
Kimball scored four more in the sixth to put the game away with a leadoff home run for Lis, an RBI single for Pearlman and a two-RBI single for Issa Yusef. West scored one more in the top of the seventh.
Kimball’s Finley pitched five innings for the win, allowing nine runs and seven hits and striking out six batters. Van Katwyk finished on the mound allowing three runs in two innings on two hits. He also tossed three strikeouts.
West’s Martinez pitched three innings and took the loss after he allowed eight runs and eight hits. Nott pitched one inning and allowed two hits and three runs, Lafever pitched one inning and allowed three runs and three hits, Thomassen gave up three runs and two hits in two-thirds of an inning, and Encarnation pitched to two batters and struck out one in the sixth.
Freshmen: Tracy 12, Bear Creek 0
Tracy’s Jonah Wesely threw his first no-hitter Monday at home against the Bruins of Bear Creek High. Only two batters reached base — one on a walk, another hit by a pitch — and the Bulldogs collected 13 hits and took advantage of five Bear Creek errors.
David Miranda drove in Tracy’s first run in the first inning, and the 11-run third inning included base hits from Austin Riches, Miranda, Nate Scanlon, Justin Minnix, Bruce Russell, Jacob Guevara, a two-RBI double from John Jaeger, two hits from Alec Barba including a two-RBI double, and two hits from Wesely, including a bases-loaded single to drive in two.
The win brings Tracy to 14-6 overall and 7-3 in the San Joaquin Athletic Association.