With the help of pitcher Alex Guerrero, the Gonzales Spartans will face Carlmont in Belmont on Saturday during the first round of Central Coast Section softball playoffs. (Jason Gallardo/Staff)

GONZALES — After losing to Pacific Grove on the final day of the regular season, the Gonzales Spartans softball team’s hopes of making the playoffs took a deep dive, but on Thursday the Central Coast Section committee selected them as an at-large team.

If one is looking for a dark horse team to make a shocking run in this year’s playoffs, they should keep their eye on the Lady Spartans.

On Thursday, Gonzales earned the eighth seed in the CCS Division III playoffs, where they will face the top seed Carlmont High on Saturday, May 21, at 1 p.m. in Belmont.

It’s been a season of two halves for Gonzales. In the first half, they struggled at times, but when the second half started, they were a different team. In their last 10 games, the Lady Spartans finished the season 9-1.

Carlmont Scots

What We Know: Carlmont finished in fourth place in the Peninsula Bay league with a 13-11 record and are ranked 24th in CCS. When studying this team on paper, their ability to hit shows right off the page. They have 10 players batting over 400, and as a team, they are hitting 365.

Players to Watch: Sarissa Block does it all. She leads the team in all significant offense categories, home runs, batting average and RBIs. Also, she pitched in the majority of their games.

Gonzales Spartans

What We Know: Gonzales is playing their best at the right time. During their winning streak, the Lady Spartans have had success playing small ball. When they beat King City and Pacific Grove, they only gave up one run each.

Players to Watch: If you’re going to offset a good hitting team, you need a great pitch. Gonzales has that in Alex Guerrero, who will win Cypress Pitcher of the Year. This year Guerrero is 11-7 with 166 strikeouts. Celeste Camarena leads the team in hits and will be counted on to get things started offensively.

Final Thoughts and Prediction: Gonzales wins 4-2. I’m a true believer that great pitching beats good hitting. The only thing that worries me is what if Gonzales has to out hit them. If Gonzales gives up more than five runs, their season will be over.

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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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