For the duration of the season, a must-win situation will present itself every time the Gilroy High baseball team takes the field. A rocky start to the year has presented the Mustangs with no other choice but to look up and leave nothing behind.
After a two-week hiatus from the diamond – three rainouts involved – GHS (4-10 overall, 2-8 league) returned to action looking for a spark against Tri-County Athletic League opponent Alvarez on Tuesday in Gilroy.
Jalynd Gallardo had the pick-me-up potion the doctor ordered, tossing six strong innings and going 3 for 3 at the dish in a Mustangs’ 5-3 victory over the Eagles.
“He did it all today. He was ready,” Gilroy manager Jared Gamble said. “He controlled the game from both sides. That’s the best I’ve seen him hit the ball all season. I’m glad he came out here and did his job.”
The triumph, the club’s first in a month, brought about an apparent collective sigh of relief.
“It’s nice to get that (winning) feeling back,” said Gallardo, who finished with six strikeouts.
GHS last played March 27 – a forgettable 10-1 home defeat to North Salinas, which sent the Mustangs to the basement of the TCAL at 1-8. It was the final straw of sorts in a string of difficult setbacks, which included six losses of four runs or less.
“It humbled us,” Gallardo said. “It showed us that we had some work to do.”
All of that stewed for two long weeks.
“I thought it was good for us,” said senior Jordan Dexter, who went 1 for 4 with a run scored. “It gave us time to clear our minds and allowed us to fix what we were weak at and improve on our flaws.”
The adjustment period proved pivotal – at least on Tuesday it did.
“I think the bats did it today,” Dexter added. “We got some base knocks that produced some runs. If we can keep that up throughout this second half of league, we could do some damage.”
The Mustangs collected 10 hits as a team.
“We’ve changed a lot of things in practice and they showed some of that today,” Gamble said. “We got a little more aggressive with the base running and a little more aggressive with the bats. But, we still have to get better at it.”
Gallardo faced the minimum through three innings and was nearly out of the fourth when Gilroy’s Achilles’ heel this season reared its untimely head. A pair of two-out errors and a wild pitch allowed Alvarez to tie the game, 1-1.
Five GHS errors aside, Gallardo carried a no-hitter and a 4-1 lead into the sixth inning. But, as seems to be the trend for GHS this spring, getting to the finish line wasn’t going to be a walk in the park, as three hits turned into two runs. Gallardo, though, induced a ground out with the tying run on third to wriggle out of the jam.
“I felt good throughout the whole game throwing my pitches, but in the sixth inning I was getting a little tired. Just knowing we still had that one-run to work with I knew I could still throw my pitches.”
Bubu Garcia’s RBI sacrifice fly to punch in Ryan Alba in the bottom of the sixth gave the Mustangs some insurance. Dexter came in a struck out the side in the seventh for the save.
“Hopefully we can build on this and finish out the season strong,” Gallardo said.
GHS jumped in front in the third with a RBI base hit from Brenden Holler. Bubba Lara, who earlier singled and stole second, scored on the line drive to center field.
After Alvarez pulled even in the fourth, Lara put GHS back in front with a RBI double in the bottom half of the frame.
The Mustangs struck for two runs in the fifth. Back-to-back singles from Garcia and Dexter started the rally. A balk moved the runners to second and third. Garcia crossed on a passed ball and Gallardo delivered Dexter to the plate with hit No. 3.
The Mustangs are at Alvarez on Thursday before wrapping up their season series with San Benito on Friday in Hollister. The Balers won the first two meetings 9-6 and 4-0.