A strong pitching performance by Jordan Rico and a late inning offensive outburst boosted the Dos Pueblos baseball team to a 6-0 victory over St. Bonaventure in the first round of the CIF Division 3 playoffs.
It was a big opportunity for the senior Rico to start on the mound in the Chargers’ playoff opener and he delivered by holding the visiting Seraphs scoreless in his six innings of work.
“Leading up to this, I wasn’t really trusted in the coaches’ eyes to really get my name called for a big game,” Rico said. “I kept working on secondary and tertiary pitches. I’ve got those down pretty well and I can throw those in any count with confidence and it has worked out really well this whole season.”
It took a while for the Dos Pueblos bats to get going as St. Bonaventure senior pitcher J.D. Goodcase made his return from injury and held the Chargers through the first four innings.
“J.D has been injured all year and we’ve been working with him to get him back on the hill and he was finally ready to come back today,” said St. Bonaventure coach Chris Castro. “We weren’t sure how many pitches he was going to be able to give us, but boy he battled all the way through. That’s what we expected all year and it was good to see him do it finally here in a CIF playoff game.”
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In the bottom of the fifth inning Dos Pueblos broke the scoreless tie when Gino Darke’s sac fly scored Ethan Rodriguez to give the Chargers a 1-0 lead. Rodriguez walked to lead off the inning before stealing second and third to jumpstart the Dos Pueblos offense.
“When we got that first run to get on the board I think that stress kind of went away,” said Dos Pueblos coach George Hedricks. “It was the first playoff game for a lot of these boys. You could see, hear and feel the butterflies in the pregame today. It was kind of quiet and this is not a quiet team.”
The Dos Pueblos offense turned it up several notches in the bottom of the sixth inning, stringing together six consecutive hits beginning with a lined single by Joe Talerico. Darke had the big hit in the inning with a two-run double that brought home Rodriguez and Josh Brennan increasing the Dos Pueblos lead to 6-0.
Kellan Montgomery came in to pitch to start the seventh inning and was dominant in relief, striking out two of the three batters he faced.
The Chargers (18-11) will travel to either Palm Desert or Heritage for a second round game on Tuesday.