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July 30, 2021

Baseball | Aztecs and Mustangs head to CCS playoffs

SALINAS VALLEY — Soledad and King City high school baseball teams are entering the week with berths in the Central Coast Section playoffs secured.

King City earned entry into the tournament, which begins later this week, after last Thursday’s 13-3 home game against Gonzales High. The Mustangs received a complete game win from pitcher Elijah Clavijo, who earned the victory in five innings because of the 10-run rule.

Clavijo helped his own cause with two hits and two runs batted in. John Michael Soto added two hits and two RBIs, and Jonah Mendez contributed with two hits and three RBIs while playing exceptionally at third base.

King City Mustangs pitcher Elijah Clavijo throws a pitch at the mound against the Gonzales Spartans on June 3. (Sean Roney/Staff)

“We played well from the start,” said King City head coach Lorenzo Espino. “Gonzales scored two runs in the first, but we knew two runs wasn’t going to win this game. The boys answered and never panicked, we played well with our hitting, our defense, and our base running was on point. Yes, it was a play-in game in a crazy year, we won our league but had that extra game, but that was fine. Luckily we won and know we are on to CCS.”

Soledad High continued play in the Gabilan Division with road games against Monterey and Pacific Grove. At Monterey on June 2, the Aztecs gave up two late runs and lost 2-0 to the Toreadores, and then edged the Breakers by a 3-2 score on June 3.

The Aztecs and Toreadores were tied at 0-0 in the sixth when a two-run double by Monterey secured the victory for the home team. Standout players for the game for Soledad were Eric Segura and Fabian Cabrera.

“We struck out 12 times and that’s not going to win very many games,” said Soledad head coach Damian Ryan. “We’ve got to get back to the basics and have a plan in place.”

Soledad bounced back the next day with the win over the Breakers. In that game, left fielder made a game-saving catch that was easily the best play of the year for the Aztecs.

“Andrew Nichols was the starting pitcher and was credited with the win,” Ryan said. “Jordan Reyes drove in a run on a clutch single in the fourth inning and Alex Tinajero came in to pitch three innings to get the save. It was a really big day to have some of the younger players come up. Alex Tinajero is a JV player who came up to help down the stretch. I’ve known he has really good skills and we are not sure how much we could use them. Now that the JV season is over, I’m really proud that he was able to contribute to the varsity team.”

Against PG, Jorge Olivarria made a game-saving catch in left field that, according to Ryan, was easily the best play of the year for the Aztecs.

Gonzales Spartans pitcher Adriana Zavala throws one past the batter as his team faces the King City Mustangs on June 3. (Sean Roney/Staff)

Gonzales High earned the game against King City by beating the North Monterey County Condors last Tuesday in Castroville by a 4-3 score.

Nate Dixon made the complete game win on the mound as he struck out eight batters and gave up just two hits. Jayson Flores was an offensive standout as he hit a double to score the winning run in the top of the seventh. Gabe Mendez hit a single to score a run and Jaycob Valdez knocked in a pair of runs in the fourth inning.

Greenfield High School ended the season with a 7-0 play-in game loss to the host Gilroy Mustangs. Manuel Gutierrez struck out three for the Bruins and gave up five hits. Gutierrez and Alejandro had the only Greenfield hits in the contest.

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