Sanger, CVC to play for Fowler Easter Baseball title

Apaches blank Lemoore while Cavaliers rally past Dinuba, Orange Cove will take on Redcats in Fowler softball championship game

Sanger High’s Andrew Moreno slides into third base after advancing from first on an infield groundout during the Apaches’ 4-0 shutout victory over Lemoore High in the Fowler Easter Classic on March 26. Arriving late are Tigers third baseman Kaleb Chavez (10) and pitcher Hayden Keeney (20). (Jon Earnest)
Jon Earnest
Published March 27, 2024  • 
12:00 pm

FOWLER – The Sanger High Apaches and Central Valley Christian Cavaliers took contrasting paths into tonight’s Fowler Easter Classic baseball championship game.

The Apaches (12-3) scored four runs in the first inning and Max Torres pitched a complete game in a 4-0 shutout of Lemoore High, while CVC (11-5) rallied for single runs in the fifth and sixth innings to pull out a 3-2 victory over Dinuba High on Tuesday. Both winners square off for the title in a 7:30 p.m. start at Fowler High varsity field.

The Cavaliers got a complete game from Zach Simmon, who worked five scoreless innings before allowing two runs in the top of the sixth as Dinuba took a 2-1 lead. The junior righthander settled down and closed out the game, and his teammates pushed across two runs capped by a game-winning RBI single from Caden Ritchie.

“Caden has been hitting balls hard for two years (in the clutch) without having them fall, and he finally had one fall,” CVC coach Shane Marshall said. “We knew we had our backs against the wall and we had to win this game. It’s good to see us bounce back.”

Dinuba had lost 13-0 to the Cavaliers on Feb. 13 to open the season. After the tough loss on Tuesday, coach Brent Morrelli stressed on the team’s improvements in a post-game talk with his players.

“We talked about progress. That’s a much better gap that we’ve closed,” he said. “We’ve played better defense and our pitching has been really good.”

Senior Paul Huerta plated the first Dinuba run with an RBI single while Austin Hoover’s fielder’s choice grounder in the sixth gave the Emperors the lead before CVC rallied. Dinuba, winners of two of its last three, will take on Taft (8-7) in today’s 3:30 p.m. third place game.

Sanger’s Torres allowed just three hits and struck out four Lemoore batters, riding the wave of the four-run first inning to help the Apaches avenge a loss to the Tigers in the finals of the Central Valley Diamond Classic earlier this month. Sanger continued the momentum of a stirring final-inning comeback win over Firebaugh on March 25.

In other baseball action on Tuesday:

Reedley 5, Hanford 4

At Clovis East High School, the Pirates (6-7) picked up their first victory in the Fresno Easter Classic with a comeback victory over the Bullpups (8-6). Reedley scored four runs in the fifth inning to take a 5-2 lead and then held on down the stretch.

Senior Jacob Silva started and worked six innings to get the pitching win, and also knocked in two runs on offense. Angel Godinez had an RBI and run scored as five different Reedley players collected his.

On March 25, Reedley lost to Clovis West, 16-0, and Liberty-Madera Ranchos, 11-3. The Pirates closed out the Easter Classic with a morning game today against Oakmont High from Roseville.

Sanger West unbeaten at Selma tourney

Sanger West High had an opportunity to reach tonight’s championship with a morning game today against Sierra High (11-3) at Selma High. The Hornets (9-6) won their third straight tourney game Tuesday with a 6-2 triumph over the host Bears.

Junior Alijah Guzman worked five innings, giving up five hits and two unearned runs while striking out 12 Selma batters. Guzman also went 3-for-3 with a double while junior Angel Martinez drove in three runs.

Immanuel High (9-4) improved to 2-1 in the tournament with an 11-4 evening victory over Madera South High. Tonight’s final game begins at 6 p.m. at Selma High diamond.

SOFTBALL

Titans downs Dinuba to reach Fowler final

Orange Cove picked up its third consecutive victory on Tuesday, defeating Dinuba High by a 6-2 score to advance to today’s 5 p.m. championship game of the Fowler Easter Classic against the host Redcats. Earlier in the day, the Titans (6-8) downed Chowchilla 8-2.

Senior Mia Castillo pitched a pair of complete games, striking out eight against Chowchilla and eight more against Dinuba. The Titans broke a 2-2 tie against the Emperors (4-9) with two runs in the fourth and two more in the sixth. Danike Del Bosque and freshman Allyanah Cano each drove in two runs while Cano was one of four OC players with two hits.

Dinuba collected five hits off of Castillo, and will play Reedley in today’s third place game beginning at 2 p.m. at Marshall Elementary School.

Fowler 11, Reedley 6

At the Fowler Classic, the Pirates (8-7) fell into the third place game when the host Redcats (11-4) collected 10 hits and took advantage of six Reedley errors to score the game’s final nine runs. Only three of Fowler’s 11 runs were earned.

Freshman Macy Ruiz went 3-for-4 with a double and scored two runs, while Jamilah Taylor also went 3-for-4 and scored twice. Fowler’s Natalie Gonzales went 3-for-4 with a triple and three runs scored with two RBI. The Redcats trailed 6-2 in the fourth before taking the lead for good with a six-run outburst.

Sanger loses to Taft, downs Lindsay in Tulare

At Tulare, the Apaches split two games to close out the Tulare Classic. After a 1-0 loss to Taft, Sanger (11-5) snapped a brief four-game losing streak by thumping Lindsay High, 10-0. Earlier tournament losses on March 25 came to Bakersfield schools Liberty, 3-0, and Centennial, 6-3.

Junior Amber Estrada threw a 5-hitter and struck out 10 while collecting two of Sanger’s three hits in the loss to Taft. Alyssa Martinez belted a home run and had two hits while Jayden Herrera added two hits against Centennial.

Sanger returns to action with a non-conference home game at 3:30 p.m. Wednesday, April 3 against Reedley.

Jon Earnest
Reporter