Reedley College baseball back on track with sweep

Tigers take three from West Hills Coalinga as Gagnon fans 10 in strong pitching performance, men’s basketball finishes season with 7-19 record

Reedley College’s Garrett Garfield (33) leads off first base during the early innings of the Tigers’ 12-2 loss to Monterey Peninsula College on Feb. 10 at Tiger Field. The loss ended a seven-game win streak to start the season for the Tigers (7-1). (Jon Earnest)
Reedley College’s Garrett Garfield (33) leads off first base during the early innings of the Tigers’ 12-2 loss to Monterey Peninsula College on Feb. 10 at Tiger Field. The loss ended a seven-game win streak to start the season for the Tigers (7-1). (Jon Earnest)
Will Goldbeck
Published February 26, 2024  • 
12:30 pm

REEDLEY – After dominating the first two games, the series finale between Reedley College and West Hills Coalinga was exciting. But the end result was the same, a victory for the Tigers.

Reedley overcame an early 5-2 deficit and held on for a 6-5 victory at RC Diamond on Feb. 24 to sweep the three-game set to open Central Valley Conference play against the Falcons (1-10). The time was perfect for RC to end a modest three-game losing streak after starting 2024 with seven straight wins.

In that series opener, Reedley High product Will Gagnon (3-1) struck out 10 in five innings. Both teams recorded eight hits but West Hills was charged with six errors. Five of the Reedley runs were unearned.

The Tigers wasted little time offensively, scoring three times in the first. Dusty Vela moved back into the leadoff spot and reached base (without a base hit) in all five plate appearances. Singles by Mykey Ramírez and Brody Block combined with the first Falcon error and two sacrifice flies for three runs.

Falcon starter Aidan Melendrez (0-2) allowed just two hits in five innings. Gagnon did not walk a batter after struggling a bit in his last two starts. The UCLA-bound righthander now has 54 strikeouts, 18 more than the team’s second place pitcher.

In Coalinga on Feb. 22, Reedley cruised to a 15-3 win over West Hills. Vela and Block both had big days at the plate. Gio Groppetti pitched the ninth for his fifth save. In Saturday’s finale, Block went 3-for-5 with a double while Vela and Nolan Keene had two hits apiece.

Reedley faces Merced this week. The Thursday, Feb. 29 game is in Reedley at 2 p.m. with the Tuesday and Saturday contests in Merced. The 4-8 Blue Devils went 1-2 last week, falling to Cosumnes River 16-3; defeating Bakersfield 8-7 and dropping a 7-6 contest to Folsom Lake.

After sweeping COS last week, Fresno City is also 3-0 in conference action. The Rams’ eight-game winning streak includes a 25-11 win on Saturday over the Giants.

Men’s hoop loses rematch to COS in finale

Reedley College failed in a chance to play spoiler for the second time in the Central Valley Conference men’s basketball race.

The College of the Sequoias Giants lost to the Tigers earlier this season in Visalia before bouncing the Tigers 82-58 on Feb. 23 in Reedley. COS finished in a tie with Columbia for the conference title after the Claim Jumpers defeated Fresno City the same day.

Reedley finished the season with a 2-14 conference record and an overall mark of 7-19. The Tigers recorded an 82-79 win over Porterville on Feb. 22. Sophomore Kecian Primes had a career high 29 points in the win while freshman Matt Ruegge added 27.

Mitchell Uriarte and Primes were honored before the game with COS. Uriarte led Reedley with 12 points. Jose Cuello has 18 of his game high 31 points in the first half for the winners while Jaylon Lee added 16 points, 15 rebounds and five blocked shots.

“We were overwhelmed on the glass,” said Tiger head coach TJ Jennings. COS enjoyed a 47-23 rebounding edge.

Will Goldbeck
Mid Valley Times | Contributor