Sanger baseball wins 5th straight to open season

Apaches prevail 4-2 at Selma for third straight Central Valley Diamond Classic victory, rain in the forecast moves scheduled March 2 games up two days

Sanger High’s Max Torres dives head first into second with a stolen base as Selma High shortstop Sonny Rivera fields a late throw in the sixth inning of the Apaches’ 4-2 victory over the Bears in a Central Valley Diamond Classic game at Selma High on Feb. 28. (Jon Earnest)
Sanger High’s Max Torres dives head first into second with a stolen base as Selma High shortstop Sonny Rivera fields a late throw in the sixth inning of the Apaches’ 4-2 victory over the Bears in a Central Valley Diamond Classic game at Selma High on Feb. 28. (Jon Earnest)
Jon Earnest
Published February 29, 2024  • 
11:00 am

SELMA – Sanger High’s baseball team continued its hot early season start on Wednesday afternoon, remaining undefeated overall while improving to 3-0 in the Central Valley Diamond Classic.

The Apaches (5-0) rode the strength of big performances from sophomore infielder Mason Ogawa and senior pitcher Joe Morales to collect a 4-2 victory at Selma High. Sanger opened the season with two wins over Sunnyside before defeating Mt. Whitney and Dinuba in Diamond Classic play..

“We’ve been having these guys together since the summer, and our offseason was great (in the) weightroom, summer ball and fall ball,” coach David Cuellar said of his squad. “We have nine (returning players), guys that have been here, done that.”

The Apaches have been piling up the runs early, eclipsing double figures already in three games. Against Selma, the team’s offensive production was carried by Ogawa, who went 3-for-3 and drove in all four runs with RBI singles in the first and fourth innings and a two-run double in the seventh.

Right hander Morales protected a tight early lead with six-plus innings of four-hit ball, striking out 10 to improve to 3-0 on the season. Sanger built the four-run lead before Morales tired in the seventh and the Bears (2-2) scored both their runs. But Jesus Cerda came in in relief to post a groundout and strikeout and collect his first save of the season.

Outfielder Evan Rodriguez overcame a dropped fly ball, one of three Sanger errors in the afternoon, and delivered a hit while reaching base three times and scoring two runs. Cuellar credited the team’s ability to make defensive plays to overcome the errors; one in particular a double play to defuse a Selma rally in the sixth inning.

“It’s a long season, a marathon,” Cuellar said. “We’ve got to stay healthy and continue to do all the little things that we’ve been doing in practice and games.”

Because of rain in the weekend forecast, all CVDC games on Saturday, March 2, were moved up two days. The Apaches will host Firebaugh Thursday at 6 p.m. at Sanger High varsity diamond. At 3 p.m. in Sanger, Golden West will take on Minarets in a rescheduled tourney game.

Weather permitting next week, the Apaches will host Sierra Pacific in a 3:30 p.m. start on Wednesday, March 6 at Sanger High.

Fowler 6, Reedley 3

At Fowler High, the Pirates (2-2) couldn’t hold an early two-run lead and dropped their second consecutive Central Valley Diamond Classic game to the Redcats (2-1).

Darren Ortiz doubled while Angel Godinez had an RBI single and run scored, but Reedley was limited to just four hits on the afternoon. Jacob Silva started on the mound and allowed two earned runs on three hits while striking out two. Braden Silva took the loss in relief.

With rain in the forecast, Reedley and Sierra Pacific’s scheduled Saturday, March 2 CVDC tournament game in Hanford has been moved up to 6 p.m. today, Feb. 29 at Reedley High. The Pirates’ next CVDC action will be at 3:30 p.m. Wednesday, March 5 at RHS against Lemoore High.

Also at RHS diamond, Sanger West (4-1) plays Chowchilla (2-4) in a 3 p.m. CVDC game that was moved up two days because of  rain in Saturday’s forecast. On Feb. 28, the Hornets downed visiting Golden West 7-2 as Koby Daoheuang, David Melero and winning pitcher Alijah Guzman all collected two hits.

Jon Earnest
Reporter