Baseball: Despite title game loss, Balers expect to contend yearly

The San Benito High baseball team talks things over during their CCS Open Division championship game against St. Francis.

Last Saturday, the San Benito High baseball team advanced to a section final for the third time in the last six years. However, the Haybalers were denied that elusive first-ever Central Coast Section championship, as they lost a 1-0 heartbreaker to St. Francis in the Open Division playoff title game at San Jose Municipal Stadium.
“It hurts and there is disappointment,” Balers coach Billy Aviles said. “But I’m not disappointed with my kids’ effort. They battled their butts off. We just couldn’t push runs across. On that day, they got the breaks and we didn’t.”
Indeed, San Benito came close to scoring with two outs in the top of the fourth inning. That’s when a St. Francis player obstructed Diego Fisher as he was a third of the way past second base on a hard-hit double from Matt Hill. Fisher probably would’ve scored had the collision not happened, as the got away from the St. Francis outfielders.
However, the umpire didn’t give Fisher home plate, and Lancers pitcher Daniel Ydens got the next San Benito High hitter to ground out to end the threat. The Balers had another prime scoring opportunity in the sixth, when they put runners at first and second with no out.
However, as he did all game, Ydens saved his best for the biggest moments. The right-hander got a force out at third, a groundout and a strikeout to preserve the shutout. Ydens was strong, allowing just six hits while striking out six in going the distance.
Balers starter Tyler Triano delivered another solid start, allowing five hits and one run in 4 2/3 innings. That lone run came when reliever Ryan Jameson hit Mack Cheli on his very first pitch with the bases loaded. Just like San Benito, St. Francis finished with six hits—five singles and a double.
That’s how evenly-matched the two teams were, and the Lancers were able to pull it out after an innocent looking breaking pitch from Jameson nicked Cheli, who didn’t make an attempt to move out of the way and one could argue leaned into the pitch.
“It’s just one of those things where they got a couple of breaks and we didn’t,” Aviles said. “You couldn’t ask for a better played game from both sides. We gave them everything they wanted, but at the end of the day, they had one more run than we did.”
Traditional powers have one thing in common: they are consistently excellent and always in the mix to contend for a title. That’s all one can ask for, and that’s what the Balers have been—perennial players in the mix for a section championship. Things should be no different next year, as the Balers return a great mix of players including their dual aces Diego Fisher and Tyler Triano, along with Ryan Jameson, Davonte Butler, Josh Harris and Mason Marquez.
“We’re set up pretty good to make another run at this,” Aviles said. “We’ll keep knocking on the door, and hopefully we’ll kick it down eventually. I’m proud of the boys for overcoming adversity all season. Even though we didn’t come out on the winning end for the title, we still had a great season.”

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