Most Viewed Stories
RedHawks handle defending champion Falcons
Central Valley High, the three-time defending Northern Section Division II baseball champions, couldn't figure out Colusa junior pitcher Ross Cervantes on Saturday, and the RedHawks pulled off a 5-2 home victory.
Colusa picked up the confidence-boosting win with flawless defense, timely hitting and a dominant pitching performance from Cervantes.
The Falcons lost six players from last year's championship team to graduation, and used four different pitchers in the non-league game against the Division III RedHawks.
"His kids are young and we understand that but we are too. When you really think about it we still have juniors out there playing," Colusa coach Mike West said. Colusa has three seniors on the 11-player roster and only two suited up for the game.
The RedHawks won for the third game in a row after opening the season with back-to-back losses. Colusa (3-2) returned to full strength for the first time after several starters missed the first part of the season for an athletic code violation.
Junior Conner Herrick returned to the lineup for the first time this season and drove in a run in his first at-bat with a base-loaded fielder's choice in the first inning for a 1-0 RedHawks lead.
Cervantes, who made his first start of the season, walked the lead-off batter in the second inning but picked the runner off first base. A walk and an infield single gave the Falcons a chance to score later in the inning, but Cervantes picked up a strikeout and a flyout to escape the inning unscathed.
"(Cervantes) is the kind of guy that it really doesn't matter where you put him, he stays calm all the time. You saw that when he was running cross country and you see that when he's pitching — he just doesn't get rattled by much," West said.
Colusa once again played small ball to capitalize on a small opportunity in the bottom of the third inning. Junior Luke Corriea led off the inning with an infield single which ricocheted off pitcher Andrew Albertson, and advanced to second base on a wild pitch. Senior Cyrus Yerxa moved Corriea to third base with a groundout to shortstop, and senior Tyler Martin picked up an RBI groundout to third base and a 2-0 lead.
Alex Van Quick scored the Falcons first run of the game in the top of the fifth, scoring on a wild pitch after leading off the inning with a clean single up the middle.
The RedHawks answered back in the bottom half of the inning when Lane Cervantes led off with a walk, Corriea reached on an error and Yerxa loaded the bases with one out after receiving an intentional walk. Martin drove in Cervantes with a groundout to shortstop and Herrick crushed a 2-run double to deep center field.
West went to relief pitcher Kyle Cervantes in the top of the sixth with a 5-1, lead but Cervantes walked four of the first five batters he faced and West reinserted Ross Cervantes at pitcher with the bases loaded and one out.
Cervantes struck out the first batter he faced and got the next batter to hit a grounder to Herrick at second base for the final out of the inning, preserving a three-run lead.
"We can get pretty far with the team we have this year. We were just saying that if we just get our hitting up a little bit we can go pretty far," Ross Cervantes said.
The Falcons went down in order in the top of the seventh and Cervantes picked up the win, striking out eight in 6 2/3 innings. The Falcons finished the game with three hits, two of which came off the bat of Michael Mendez.
Corriea went 2-for-3 with two runs scored for Colusa in the No. 2 spot. Martin, the RedHawks clean-up hitter, went 1-for-3 with 2 RBIs, and Herrick drove in three runs and stole a base from the five spot in the lineup.
The RedHawks open the Maxwell Baseball Tournament against Williams High on Thursday, and travel to Willows for the Sacramento Valley League opener on Friday.
CONTACT Kirk Barron at 458-2121 or firstname.lastname@example.org.