On the cusp of winning its first Central Coast Section championship in program history, the San Benito High baseball team fell flat in a 11-4 loss to Sequoia of Redwood City on Saturday in the Division II title contest. The Haybalers have now made five section finals appearances and lost all of them.
San Benito thought Saturday would be the breakthrough it had been long searching for. The No. 2 seed Balers (17-10) were facing the Ravens (23-3) from the Peninsula Athletic League’s ‘B’ Ocean Division. However, Sequoia showed quickly it was an A-league team.
Before the game was 30 minutes old, Sequoia had a 6-0 lead after scoring two runs in the top of the first and four more in the second. San Benito never got within striking distance to put any type of pressure on the Ravens. Instead, it was Sequoia that banged out 12 hits en route to the victory.
The Balers didn’t help their cause, committing three errors that led to three runs. After impressive wins over Bellarmine in the quarterfinals and Mountain View in the semifinals, San Benito simply didn’t have it against Sequoia. Offensively, defensively and pitching-wise, the Balers were outplayed in every phase of the game. Give credit to the Ravens: they came out as a team on a mission and got it done.
Balers center fielder Adrian Ruiz, who just completed his sophomore year, went 3 for 3 with two runs driven in. Justin Cortez had a single, two doubles and scored twice. The Balers couldn’t capitalize on their opportunities, leaving the bases loaded with two outs in the bottom of the third. In the next two innings, they grounded into double plays, preventing any shot of them mounting a comeback.
Even in defeat, San Benito should be well equipped to make another deep postseason run next season. Knock enough on the door, the saying goes, and you’re bound to knock it down. That’s what the Balers have to take solace in, that if they keep on putting themselves in this position, they’ll eventually taste CCS glory.