GILROY – Senior pitcher Taylor Chris recorded 13 strikeouts and
gave his team the lead with a home run in the bottom of the sixth
inning, lifting the Gilroy High baseball team to a 3-1 victory over
visiting North Salinas on Friday.
GILROY – Last Tuesday’s 4-3 loss to North Salinas served as a chilling reminder for the Gilroy High baseball team that no game in the Tri-County Athletic League can be taken lightly.
Manager Johnny Ramirez said after Tuesday’s game that he was anxious to see how his Mustangs to respond to the small hiccup in an otherwise strong start to the season.
The two schools were pitted against each other again Friday, and although the contest was again close down to the wire, the Mustangs (7-2. 6-2 TCAL) were able to eke out a 3-1 victory over the Vikings in Gilroy, in game two of the season’s three-game series.
“They were pressing, they were trying too hard. A win is a win and I will take that one,” Ramirez said. “We are right where I want to be. We battled and that’s what I like about this team.”
The Mustangs turned to starting pitcher Taylor Chris, who didn’t want to wait any longer to record his first win of the season.
Having two no decisions in his previous two outings, the outcome of his third start Friday remained in the balance until the he took matters into his own hands with one swing of the bat, delivering the knockout punch.
“He deserved to win this game,” Ramirez said. “He told me, ‘you better not take me out.’ He wanted this one.”
With the game knotted at 1-1 in the bottom of the sixth, and with neither teams’ offense displaying any consistency, Chris rode an inside fastball over the right-field fence for a home run, changing the complexion of the game in favor of the Mustangs.
“I knew I hit it pretty good,” Chris said. “It’s definitely a relief to get that (win) out of the way.”
The Mustangs added an insurance run later in the inning on back-to-back doubles by Jordan Dexter and Eric Vegas, the latter driving in Dexter to make it 3-1.
Gabe Bonilla gave the Mustangs a 1-0 lead in the third inning, manufacturing the run all on his own. After reaching on an error and advancing to second during the same sequence, Bonilla then stole third and scored when the throw from the catcher squirted into the outfield.
Chris was dominant in seven innings, hurling 13 strikeouts, a season high. His lone mistake came in the top of the fifth inning, leaving an 0-1 pitch up in the zone that Andrew Castaneda deposited over the left-center field fence.
“Everything was working for him,” said Dexter, the team’s starting catcher. “His ball was moving and he hit all his spots.”
Dexter, a sophomore has caught every inning for the Mustangs so far this season.
“I have all the confidence in the world in him behind the plate,” Chris said.
The Mustangs put together just three hits in the win, struggling at the dish for the second game in a row.
“We just need to hit the ball. We can’t have three hits and expect to win games,” Dexter said.
Gilroy busted out of its offensive funk Saturday against Monta Vista the first game of the Lions Easter Tournament at PAL Stadium in San Jose.
The Mustangs jumped in front early with six runs in the first two innings, cruising to a 12-2 win, posting nine hits in the process.
Dexter and Chris had three hits, Vegas, who leads the TCAL in doubles, had a pair of base knocks and four RBI and Neal Dinsmore went deep.
Gilroy continued tournament play Monday versus Scotts Valley and plays Mitty on Wednesday. Results of the remaining games will be in Friday’s Dispatch and online at gilroydispatch.com/sports.