But the Jays had their eyes fixed squarely on Hughson’s Tigres (0-6), who, after routs in their first five games, became the Jays’ latest victims in the Mexican-American Baseball League.
The Jays jumped out to a huge early lead Sunday, May 27, coasting to a 18-0 victory at Patterson High in a game shortened to seven innings by the league’s 15-run mercy rule.
“Coming in, we knew that they weren’t a very good team,” said Patterson player-coach Bubba Marroquin. “But we didn’t want to overlook anyone — we had to get this win.”
Sunday’s game served as a confidence-building tune-up, as the Jays banged out 14 hits and scored during all six of their turns at bat, Marroquin said.
Six Patterson starters had at least one hit, led by Zach Wheeland’s 4-for-5 outing, which included four RBIs and one run scored. Teammate Rafa Arroyo went 4-for-6 at the plate, driving in two runs and scoring three times, while A.J. Marroquin was 2-for-3 with two RBIs and two runs scored.
“We have tougher teams ahead on the schedule,” Bubba Marroquin said. “But it helps for us to get back to hitting the ball and to putting runs on the scoreboard.
“Anytime you can get some solid work in at the plate, it’s a good thing.”
Pitchers Tyler Bettencourt, Brett Wheeland and A.J. Marroquin teamed up for the two-hit shutout.
The right-handed Bettencourt (3-1) pitched the five first innings, surrendering the Tigres’ only two hits of the game. But he struck out seven batters in his five innings of work and walked only two.
Wheeland and A.J. Marroquin allowed no hits and combined to fan two batters in the final two frames to finish the game.
The Jays’ record stands at 4-2, leaving them tied for second place in the league’s North Division with the Hughson Cardinals (4-2). They are just one game behind the Salida Mariners (5-1) and the Modesto Bulldogs (5-1), who are tied for the top spot.
“We just want to be in each game that we play,” Bubba Marroquin said. “We know that it’s never going to be easy. But you can count on us going out and putting up a fight.”
The Jays will continue their regular season at 10 a.m. Sunday, June 3, when they host the Bulldogs.