Hitting struggles end mini win streak for Sanger baseball

Apaches limited to three hits in 3-1 loss to Garza and fall to 4-8 in CMAC play; Exeter outscores Immanuel in TCC showdown

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Jon Earnest
Published May 1, 2024  • 
11:00 am

SANGER – Sanger High’s baseball team entered County Metro Athletic Conference play earlier this spring with an 8-1 record and loads of confidence bolstered by six double figure outbursts. But cold bats during conference play have kept the Apaches buried near the bottom of the standings. 

Tuesday afternoon in a home game against Justin Garza High, the Apaches managed just three hits (two in the final two innings) and lost 3-1 to the Guardians. Sanger (15-10 overall) fell to 4-8 in CMAC play, averaging just two runs per game and being shut out four times.

Coach David Cuellar said Garza pitcher Adam Harden was a big factor in the team’s struggles. The crafty sophomore righthander scattered three hits for the complete game win, overcoming a sixth inning where the Apaches scored their only run.

“He attacks the zone, he keeps guys off balance,” he said of Harden. “It looks like it’s easy because he’s not throwing hard. He frustrates hitters, he holds runners well. You’ve got to tip your cap.”

The Guardians (11-13, 4-7) scored a run in the second inning and two more in the third, making the most of their six hits off Sanger pitcher Joe Morales. A throwing error in the sixth allowed the Apaches to score its lone run and put the tying run in scoring position, but Harden escaped further trouble by retiring Brenden Dominguez on a ground ball.

Sanger travels to Fresno to take on Garza in a 3:30 p.m. contest Friday, then closes out the regular season next week with a pair of games against first place Bullard (19-6, 12-0). The finale will be at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, May 9 at Sanger High varsity diamond.

In other baseball action on Tuesday:

Exeter 15, Immanuel 8

At The Yard in the Immanuel Sports Complex, the visiting Monarchs (19-6, 6-3) took over sole possession of first place in the Tri-County Conference Sequoia Division by downing the Eagles (14-8, 5-3) in a high-scoring shootout. Exeter led by a run late before tacking on six runs in the seventh inning.

Freshman Cade McElmoyl homered and drove in five runs while senior Miles Munger also homered to pace a 15-hit attack off three Immanuel pitchers. Lucas Pettit went 2-for-3 with three runs batted in while SJ Ramirez was 2-for-3 with a double and two RBI. Exeter hosts Immanuel in a 7 p.m. start Thursday, May 2.

Reedley 4, Hanford West 2

At Reedley, the Pirates (8-14, 4-4 TCC Sequoia) rode the strength of Mason Cisneros’ pitching to down the Huskies. The junior allowed one earned run, scattering five hits and striking out 11 without issuing a walk in a complete game performance.

Senior Darren Ortiz doubled for one of four RHS hits and scored a run while Jacob Silva added an RBI for Reedley, which plays the Huskies in Hanford at 4 p.m. May 2.

Tulare Union 8, Dinuba 3

At Tulare, the Emperors (7-17, 3-8) were limited to six hits in a West Yosemite League loss to the Tribe. Junior Anthony Pompa had two hits including a double while Daniel Pruneda added an RBI double for Dinuba, which hosts Tulare in a 7 p.m. start on May 2.

Torres 6, Sanger West 5

At Madera, the Hornets (16-10, 6-5) fell out of a tie for third place in the North Yosemite League as the Toros scored four runs in the third inning to take the lead for good. Cesar Gonzalez went 3-for-4 while Tony Luna drove in two runs for Sanger West, which hosts Torres in a 6 p.m. start May 3.

Jon Earnest