SELMA - In pursuit of staying atop the Central Sequoia League standings, the Selma Bears fell a half game out of first place after falling 8-1 to Exeter High at Allen Cropsey Diamond at Bobby Cox Field on April 24.
Two days later, the Bears (20-4, 9-2 CSL) took a half game lead over then first-place team Immanuel (20-6, 8-2 CSL) in a 2-1 win on the road.
As for the game against the Monarchs, Selma head coach John Hollett Jr. said it was “just one of those days.”
“I chalk it up as a baseball game that got out of hand for us,” Hollett Jr. said. “It’s not what we do. It’s not indicative how our performance has been all year long. I think it’s a one time occurrence and I’m glad we got it out of the way now.”
The loss to Exeter ended a eight-game winning streak and the Monarchs eight runs were the most the Bears have allowed in a game all year. It was also the second time Selma scored one run in a game this season. The other game where the Bears scored one run was a 1-0 victory over Central Valley Christian on April 5.
Selma left a total of 10 runners stranded on base and were outhit 16-7 in the game.
“Tonight, I think our bats were asleep,” Bears outfielder Leo Arreguin said. “It was a tough loss. Hopefully, we don’t drought, dwell on it too much, but come back tomorrow with a good practice and just be ready for Friday [against Immanuel].”
Arreguin was one of two Selma batters to have multiple hits against Exeter starting pitcher Jaykob Acosta, who threw a complete game. The lead-off hitter went 2-for-4 with two singles. Both of Arreguin’s singles were on his first two at-bats.
Isaiah Gastelum was the other Bear to have two hits in the game. The junior went 2-for-2 with two doubles and a walk. Gastelum scored the team’s only run against the Monarchs on a RBI single from Aaron Aguilar in the sixth inning. Gastelum scored from second on Aguilar’s run scoring single.
“Our bats were just a little slow today,” Gastelum said. “We didn’t come out strong, we didn’t come out with the intentions we wanted to, but we just have to keep going, keep battling from here.”
Exeter started the game by scoring three runs in the first inning. Two of those runs came on a home run from Acosta, who hit to the left field fence. The two-run shot provided the first two runs of the game. The Monarchs other run in the inning was a RBI double from Julian Vargas.
Exeter’s bats constantly put pressure on Selma’s pitching and defense by scoring runs in the second, third, and sixth innings.
The Monarchs scored once in the second inning, followed by two more runs in the third. Exeter scored two more times in the sixth inning with a two-run home run to right field from Preston Wiley.
Aguilar and Eddie Avalos, who both pitched for Selma, didn’t throw a 1-2-3 inning once against the Monarchs.
One of the fewest scoring opportunities for the Bears occurred in the fourth inning when Selma loaded the bases down 6-0.
Brycen Carrasco reached on a lead-off walk, then Nick Lopez advanced to first by being hit with a pitch, and Gastelum drew a walk. The bases were loaded with one out, but Adam Rodriguez struck out, which was preceded by Aguilar getting retired on a fly ball.
“We have to capitalize on it when it happens,” Hollett Jr. said about the bases loaded situation. “Those are the type of things that we’ve done all year long and it just wasn’t done today.”
In the game against Immanuel, Selma scored both runs in the seventh inning to take the lead. The game was scoreless until the Eagles scored in the sixth inning.
The Bears defeated Immanuel three times this season including a two-game series sweep in league play. The other win against the Eagles came in the championship game of the 63rd annual Selma Greater Kiwanis Baseball Classic on April 17. Selma defeated Immanuel 16-6 in a mercy-shortened five inning game.
As of press time, the Bears are the top ranked team in Division III and the Eagles are ranked No. 2, according to MaxPreps.
Selma last played Firebaugh in a non-league game at home on Tuesday.
The Bears will host it’s senior night on Thursday in a rivalry matchup against Kingsburg (10-15, 4-6 CSL) in the regular season and CSL finale. In the first meeting this season, Selma fell to the Vikings 3-2 at Kingsburg High School.
The Bears playoff seeding will be posted on the CIF Central Section website this weekend. The CIF Central Section playoffs will begin on May 8.