Scouts from Major League Baseball attend the March 4 game to watch Soledad’s ace pitcher Eric Segura. (Contributed)

SOLEDAD — With three official preseason games under their belt, the Soledad Aztecs are off to a rolling loud start in baseball as they enter league play.

After last year’s successful season, the Aztecs earned a spot in the Gabilan Division — one of the deepest divisions in the entire Central Coast Section, with schools like St. Francis, Palma, Monterey and Hollister.

The good news for the Aztecs is their pitching staff has returned, including ace Eric Segura, and they only lost one starter from a year ago. With a team full of upperclassmen, they won’t be an easy out.

With league play starting this week, Soledad had three games to get ready for the long season in the Gabilan Division.

In their first game of the season, the Aztecs had a match-up with the Soquel Knights. They started off with a bang, scoring eight runs. Leading the way was all-league third baseman Dominic Chavez, who had two hits with two RBIs.

Eight runs were the most runs scored in a season opener since 2020, when Soledad beat Weston Ranch, 10-0.

In the second game of the year, they faced off against South Monterey County rival the King City Mustangs. The Aztecs once again found enough runs to beat the Mustangs, 5-1.

Leading the way was all-league first baseman Jeremie Banuelos, who had two hits and two RBIs, and center fielder Jesse Farfan, who had doubles and triples.

If the Aztecs are going to push for a league title, they will need their No. 2 pitcher Andrew Nichols to have his best season as an Aztec — and so far, so good. In two outings this year, Soledad got the win against King City and the save against Soquel.

To finish off the week, the Aztecs competed with Calaveras, which had a great run in the playoffs last season. The bad news for Calaveras is that Soledad sent their Oregon State-committed pitcher to the mound to make his season debut.

Prior to the game starting, Segura had a lot of visitors to see him pitch. At least 10 scouts from Major League Baseball attended the game to watch him pitch.

Other than giving up a run in the first inning, Segura struck out 12 batters in five innings of work, as Soledad moved to 3-0 after beating Calaveras 11-1.

Soledad will have a tough test this week as they start a two-game series with Monterey and will face Gunderson High School on Saturday.

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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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