The Minarets Mustangs baseball team (26-5, 9-1 WSL) won its first West Sequoia League title last week in a 12-10 slugfest against the Caruthers Blue Raiders (14-15, 7-3). The two teams entered the April 17 game tied for first in league play at 7-1.
The two teams combined for 28 hits and 22 runs, including three, three-run home runs by Caruthers. The first came after the Mustangs committed two errors to start the first inning, putting two runners aboard for Danny Arciga. The Blue Raider's clean-up hitter sent a fastball over the left field fence for his seventh home run on the season and a quick 3-0 Caruthers lead.
In the second inning, the Mustang's second baseman Scott Parker doubled to the gap,following a single by Cedar Robertson. Next up was the team's leading hitter, Conly Biglione, who singled up the middle bringing home Robertson and Parker.
Robertson went 4 for 5 in the game with three RBIs while scoring three times, and Parker finished the game 3 for 3 at the plate.
Mustang pitcher Sam Reyes (4-2, 1.73 ERA) recovered well and shut the Blue Raiders down through the next four innings while the Mustangs erupted for 11 runs off 17 hits.
Of the Mustangs five losses on the season, the team had been leading in four of those games until the sixth inning. Remembering their tough loss against Fowler the previous week, the team suddenly came alive in the sixth inning, collecting five hits. Again Parker and Robertson singled and then Biglione singled to right for his third and fourth RBI of the game. Sam Romero then hit a line drive to center scoring Biglione, followed by a Keenan Reardon doubled that scored Romero.
After 5 1/2 inning the Mustangs held a commanding 12-3 lead.
It turned out Minarets would need everyone of those runs as Caruthers answered back with two, three-run bombs off reliever Riley Hillerman to climb back into the game. After a single and a walk, Alante Uribe drove the ball over the left field fence to make the score 12-6. Caruthers had back to back singles and this time it was AJ Pease that took it deep for the Blue Raiders sixth run of the inning and brought them to within three runs of Minarets (12-9) entering the final inning.
Chance Carter relieved in the seventh for the Mustangs and hit the first batter, who advanced on a Carter wild pitch. An infield ground out moved the runner to third. Carter walked the next batter and all of a sudden Caruthers had the tying run up to bat.
A passed ball on the next pitch made the score 12-10 Mustangs. Carter would retire the next two batters with a pop up to first and a strikeout to give the school its first baseball league title.
The Mustangs concluded their season with a 7-1 victory over Parlier (7-10, 4-6). Biglione went 3 for 5 and catcher Chase Daly went 2 for 4 with three RBIs.
No. 1 seed
The Mustangs are the No. 1 seed in D-VI playoffs with a play-off bye this week. The team will host the winner of the Kings Christian (10-9, 6-6) - McFarland (13-13, 9-3) game April 20. Should they win, they will play in the Central Section D-VI championship game Saturday, April 25 at Raw Hide Stadium in Visalia.