SALINAS VALLEY — After dropping their first two Gabilan Division games against the reigning Division Ill Central Coast Section champions, the Monterey Toreadors, the Soledad Aztecs baseball team has now won four straight as they swept their series against Carmel Padres last week.

Heading into the week, the Aztecs were coming off a combined 30 runs in their two-game sweep of the Pacific Grove Breakers on March 15 and 17. But now they would be facing a team that went to the CCS Division IV playoff finals, the Carmel Padres.

Last week the weather almost didn’t let them play, as they were forced to hold back-to-back games — limiting both teams and their pitching staff.

In both games, the Aztecs sent out pitcher Andrew Nichols, who had a 2-1 record this season. With back-to-back games, they needed a strong game from him.

Nichols put out a great five innings, as the Aztecs knocked off the Padres 7-2. Once again, Soledad’s Dominic Chavez helped with two hits, but leading the way was catcher Noah Fregoso, who had three RBIs.

In game two, those in attendance got to witness two of the best pitchers this area has to offer.

Soledad’s ace Eric Segura faced off against an all-leaguer in the Gabilan Division last season, the Padres’ JJ Sanchez. Segura and Sanchez are quite familiar with each other, as they both train at Kinetic Performance Institute in Morgan Hill.

In the week’s finale, Sanchez had eight strikeouts, but it would be Segura and the Aztecs taking the week series 3-1. Segura pitched six strong innings, while picking up nine strikeouts.

With the win, the Aztecs moved to 8-2 overall and 4-2 in the Gabilan Division.

This week, if the weather allows, the Aztecs will start a two-games series on Tuesday with the team that knocked them out of the playoffs last year, the St. Francis Sharks.

Greenfield Bruins

Since dropping two games to Atascadero, the Greenfield Bruins baseball team has won seven straight games, moving them into first place in the Cypress Division.

Entering the week, the Bruins have been one of the hottest teams, winning five straight games. Due to the weather, which made them play three games in five days, they have found a way to overcome those obstacles.

After sweeping the Marina Mariners in their two-game series, the Bruins had another two-game series with the Seaside Spartans. Coming into the match-up, the Bruin bats have come alive, scoring 33 runs in their past four games. Seaside came into the week 1-4 on the season.

In game one, Greenfield sent their ace Manny Gutierrez to the mound. Once again, Gutierrez had a dominant outing. He pitched the full game, throwing a perfect game with 11 strikeouts, and the Bruins cruised to a 10-0 win.

Leading the way offensively was Greenfield’s Malcom Bautista, who had two hits and three RBIs in the game. So far this season, Bautista leads the team in hits and RBIs.

In game two, Greenfield pitcher Tony Pantoja didn’t get a perfect game, but he was able to pitch his best game of the season. He pitched a two-hitter with 14 strikeouts, as the Bruins curied to a 9-1 victory.

Leading the way for the Bruins again was Bautista, who had three hits. During the two-game series, the Bruins scored 19 runs and the pitching staff was dominant as they only gave up one run.

Going into this week, Greenfield will face probably their biggest competition in the Cypress Division, the Gonzales Spartans, who swept them last year. If the Bruins are going to win a championship, they will have to overcome an obstacle they weren’t able to get over a year ago.

The series starts on Tuesday in Gonzales.

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Jason Gallardo is the sports reporter for King City Rustler and Salinas Valley Tribune, a unified publication of Greenfield News, Soledad Bee and Gonzales Tribune. He covers high school sports for South Monterey County.


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