Baseball: Despite loss, Balers ready for playoffs

Tyler Triano had another fantastic outing against Palma on Tuesday, allowing zero earned runs in six innings.

With a chance to clinch at least a share of its 12th league title in the last 13 years, the San Benito High baseball team gave away Tuesday’s showdown contest Palma—literally. The host Haybalers committed four errors en route to a 4-2 loss in eight innings.
With one game left in the league season, Palma clinched at least a share of the Monterey Bay League’s Gabilan Division championship. San Benito, which dropped to 13-4 in league play, can still win a share of the league title if it beats Christopher on Thursday and Palma loses to Salinas.
Even though the Chieftains won the season series from the Balers, 2-1, there is no such thing as using head-to-head results to determine the league champion in the event both teams finish with identical records. However, it would determine the league’s automatic qualifier into the Central Coast Section’s Open Division playoffs.
San Benito entered Tuesday’s game having won six in a row and nine of its last 10. So even though the Balers chose a bad time to play one of their worst defensive games of the season, the reality is they’re set up for another deep playoff run. That’s because they’ve got speed on the basepaths, their hitting is improved and their pitching is first class.
Tyler Triano started against Palma and had another superb performance, allowing no earned runs and seven hits while striking out five in six innings. Diego Fisher relieved Triano in the seventh and allowed two runs, both of which were unearned. In fact, all four Palma runs were a result of San Benito errors.
That included a throwing error in the top of the eighth, allowing the two winning runs for Palma to score.
“We gave them everything they got today,” Balers coach Billy Aviles said. “When you play a solid team like Palma, you can’t give them extra outs. The bottom line is you have to execute and play catch, and we didn’t do that.”
The Balers scored their two runs in the bottom of the third inning—the first on a fielder’s choice grounder off the bat of Fisher and the second off a single from Drew Williams, who along with Josh Tonascia had a team-high two hits apiece. Danny Carnazzo led Palma with a game-high three hits.
Chieftains starter Danny Zanger, a Hollister resident, had another solid outing, allowing six hits and two runs over six innings. After the Balers play Christopher on Thursday, they have a home make-up contest with Santa Teresa on Friday. Aviles said he’s looking forward to see how the team responds after a tough loss to rival Palma.
Every time San Benito has lost this season, it has won the following game. The Balers will need to show that resiliency once again with the playoffs starting next week. The latest playoff projection poll has the Balers as the No. 6 seed in the Open Division.
Things are fluid and subject to change, and San Benito could move up and earn a anywhere from a Nos. 2 to a 5 seed if it wins its final two games. Expect the Open Division to be a monster once again, with WCAL powers Bellarmine, Serra, Mitty, St. Francis and Valley Christian in the field, according to prep2prep.

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