The Patterson Pirates rode the strength of pitcher Jimmy Perez’s complete game Sunday all the way to a 9-5 win to start its playoff doubleheader against Delhi.
But once Patterson’s pitching ran out, so did its chances of completing the doubleheader sweep. The Perricos avenged a Game 1 loss with an offensive surge off four Pirates pitchers later that day to win Game 2, 17-14, at Felipe Garza Jr. Park.
The doubleheader split this past weekend will force a playoff finale at 10 a.m. Sunday in Delhi in the best-of-three, double-elimination Central Valley Mexican-American Baseball League playoffs.
“I think we ran out of pitching in the second game,” said first baseman Wency Rios, who pitched part of the sixth and all of the seventh inning in Game 2. “I haven’t pitched in about seven to eight years. Before that, I last pitched in high school.”
Patterson (13-5) basked in a complete game from Perez to start the doubleheader. He allowed three runs in eight innings. Specializing in a slower but steadier style of pitching, Delhi couldn’t overcome Perez’s slider and the movement on his pitches.
“I just tried to put it across the plate,” Perez said. “I figured that it got us this far, so let’s keep it going. We had another good day of defense. If you have good hitting and defense, we’ll usually come out on top at the end of the day.”
Perez took a line drive off his knee from a Delhi batter in the first game, but battled through the pain to finish the game.
While Perez kept Delhi scoreless through three innings, Patterson built a 4-0 lead. RBI hits from Tino Ramirez and Jose Garza in the first inning, and another RBI hit from Garza in the third, gave the Pirates plenty of breathing room.
Delhi trimmed Patterson’s lead to 4-2 in the fourth inning, but Patterson scored two runs in the fifth that proved to be the game-winning runs. Jose Garza had his third RBI hit of the game, and Rafael Arroyo’s RBI double put Patterson up 6-2.
“Our bats were pretty hot,” Pirates coach Jose Garza said.
“We scored a lot of runs.”
A shoulder injury to occasional starter Arroyo, coupled with starter Rudy Lozano yielding nine runs over five innings, exposed Patterson’s lack of pitching depth in Game 2.
Delhi had an answer for every pitcher Patterson put atop the mound through seven innings.
“The bottom line is that our pitching ran out,” Garza said. “I told the guys that we’re about two pitchers away from having a perfect team. We got some recruiting to do in the off-season.”
After Lozano left in the top of the sixth inning, reliever David Castro faced only three batters, including Delhi’s proficient hitter Nacho Arroyo, who was 5-for-5 on the day. Castro was replaced by Rios.
Once Delhi belted a two-run homer in the sixth inning to make it 14-5, Rios settled down and finished off the sixth and seventh innings.
Patterson bounced back with seven runs in the sixth, with RBIs from Leo Barragan, Ruben Cantu, Rafael Arroyo, Garza, Rios and Moy Lomeli.
Trailing 17-14 in the bottom of the ninth, Patterson loaded the bases with one out but couldn’t drive in the tying run. A fly ball to deep center field looked good off Arroyo’s bat, but Delhi caught it near the center-field fence to end the game.
“I have Jimmy (Perez) penciled in as the starter for Sunday,” Garza said. “I hope his knee is better and that he gets plenty of rest. I don’t want to have to think about putting anyone else in.”
To reach Play Editor Mike Vanden Bosch at the Irrigator, call 892-6187 or e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.