SELMA - In a game dominated by pitching and defense, a one-out RBI single from Eddie Avalos would be the difference in Selma’s 2-1 victory over Sanger in a nonleague game on March 6.
Avalos knocked in the go-ahead run against Fresno State-bound pitcher Jake Harrell with two runners on base in the bottom of the fifth inning. The junior’s RBI single broke a 1-1 tie.
Before he stepped into the batter’s box, Avalos said getting on base was the only thing on his mind.
“Like coach says ‘Get it to the next guy,’” Avalos said. “The team did their job and I just came in and contributed.”
The RBI single was Avalos’ only hit of a 1-for-3 afternoon. Avalos knocked in Nick Lopez on the run-scoring single. Lopez scored from second base.
It was Selma’s sixth-straight victory, which improved the Bears to a 6-1 start.
Senior Ethan Wenter knocked in the Bears’ other run with one out in the first inning. Wenter’s RBI came on a groundout that scored Leo Arreguin from third base.
“It puts a chip on our shoulder going out there, knowing [Harrell] is one of the best,” Wenter said. “We were just going to go out there and be calm and be like ‘Hey he’s one of the best, let’s see what we could do against him.’ That definitely motivated us to stay in the game and focus on every pitch and not worry about future events of the game.”
Selma head coach John Hollett said an early 1-0 against Harrell was important.
“They knew they could hit this pitcher,” Hollett said. “Not only just hit the pitcher, but compete with him.”
Wenter - who was the Bears’ starter - allowed two hits and two walks in 4 ⅔ innings pitched. Junior Isaiah Gastelum was the winning pitcher after throwing 2 ⅓ scoreless innings in relief. Gastelum tossed strikeouts with three walks in his appearance.
Selma coach John Hollett said the pitching unit of Avalos, Wenter, and Gastelum has performed tremendously during the team’s 6-1 start.
“We got a three-headed monster,” Hollett said. “Hopefully, we could just keep rolling with that and hopefully they keep throwing strikes.”
Wenter, who also splits time at first base, said “everything is working” during the team’s 6-1 start.
“Pitching is definitely one of our strong points and defense. We definitely have a solid defense and as long as we stick with those two things I believe that we’ll get enough run support for our pitchers.”
Sanger’s Nathan Padilla scored the Apaches’ only run of the game after an error from Selma in the fourth inning.
Harrell pitched five innings with six strikeouts and allowed two earned runs in a losing effort. The future Bulldog didn’t pitch a 1-2-3 inning throughout the game.
Three days later, Selma played another future Fresno State Bulldog pitcher in Sierra Pacific's Will Springer.
The Bears fell 4-1 to the Golden Bears after Springer stuck out eight Selma batters in six innings.
Selma's lone run of the game occurred in the third inning.
On Tuesday (after press time), Selma started Central Sequoia League play at home against Central Valley Christian.
Selma (6-2) is scheduled to play in CSL action on the road against Dinuba (3-3) on Friday. First pitch is scheduled for 7 p.m. The Bears next scheduled home game will take place on March 19 against Hanford West.