Though some youthful mistakes closed out the regular season for Yosemite High School’s baseball team May 13 in a 6-2 loss to Chowchilla (14-11, 8-7 North Sequoia League), the Badgers (10-14, 4-11 North Sequoia League) moved on to D-IV playoffs on the road May 17 as the No. 9 seed to face No. 8 Dos Palos (11-11-2, 8-2 Eastern Sequoia League).
Results of the game were not available at press time but can be seen at www.sierrastar.com.
Against Chowchilla, in possibly their final home game last Friday, the Badgers took an early two-run lead over the Redskins on a double from Evan Prater followed by a single on the bat of freshman Jaeden Pierce.
It appeared Prater, also the starting pitcher, was building momentum as he closed out the side in the second inning, but his stint on the mound allowing three hits wouldn’t last.
At the plate in the bottom of the inning, an errant pitch from Chowchilla pitcher Austin Hickman ricocheted off of Prater’s helmet and struck him in the face, which sent him to Valley Children’s Hospital with a broken nose.
“He’ll be fine,” head coach JD Burnett said. “There was a lot of blood but he’ll be okay, which is good to hear.”
Pierce was then called to the mound, and kept the Redskins scoreless into the top of the fifth inning, but that’s when the Chowchilla bats caught fire.
After Pierce allowed a run and three hits - one due to an error - junior Caleb Eicholtz took over, and gave up five runs that inning, though he managed to work out his jitters and close out the game with no additional scores.
Burnett said he pulled Pierce to save him for the playoffs while getting Eicholtz some pitching experience.
“We wanted to pull (Pierce) out so he would be ready for our next game,” Burnett said. “And (Eicholtz) did a great job for us. He showed he can really pitch, so I was glad to see him get some work.”
Logan Szabadi, one of the team’s three seniors, said he’d miss playing on the Badger field.
“It’s kind of weird because my four years went by really fast,” Szabadi said. “It hasn’t really set in yet, but high school baseball is almost over for me. But we’ve played pretty good and we’re going to make a good run in the playoffs.”
Yosemite’s JV team (9-10, 7-3 NSL) beat Chowchilla 9-2.
One of the highlights of the game was the Badger’s successful suicide squeeze play that gave the team the lead. The Badgers also had a double play in the game and threw out two runners trying to tag up.
Young Badger softball team ends rough season
The Yosemite High girls softball team (6-18, 0-10 North Sequoia League) ended its season at home May 13 with a 19-3 loss to Washington Union.
It was a tough year for the Lady Badgers, being outscored in league play 141-14.
Sophomore Sarah Meeks went 2-for-3 with two singles and freshman Angelina McBride went 2-for-3 with a single and a double.
Seniors Lynette Combs and Mariah Avellana, and junior Amaya Chenot each had a hit in the game, while junior Katie Thompson had a double.
The team’s leading hitter on the season was shortstop Combs, who will take her talents to Humboldt State in the fall. She batted .516 with 23 hits including six doubles, three triples and a home run. She scored 15 runs and lead the team in RBIs with nine. She struck out four times with 64 at-bats in 24 games.
Catcher Thompson also had a good season, batting .375 with 16 hits including two doubles and three triples. She scored 10 runs and had seven RBIs in 21 games. She struck out five times in 56 at bats.
Chenot batted .362, while scoring 10 runs and collecting 10 hits in 19 games, including six doubles and a home run.
Players hitting over .200 included Caitlyn Burns (.276), McBride (.270), Meeks (.268) and Kylie Seals (.234).
“The players and the coaching staff learned a lot about the players this season and know there is work to be done on the field,” said head coach Dave Maynez. “We are excited about next season because we have a lot of young players on the team including four freshman, five sophomores and two juniors that will be returning. There are some good players on our JV team as well as some good incoming freshman next school year.”
Maynez was assisted this season by Mariah Lincoln, Bevin Sternburg, Rhiannon Dewey, Brent Cunnings, Matt Haynes and Jo Vanbalinghem.
Maynez wanted the opportunity to thank the parent booster club, Athletic Director Rusty Oetinger, and the entire school staff for their continued support throughout the season.
The team awards dinner is May 27.