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June 19, 2021

Mustangs’ season ends in heartbreak

When the Gilroy Mustangs came to play, they were unbeatable. Their 18-0 record in the Monterey Bay League’s Pacific Division proved that.
But something was off Saturday when the team faced Branham. The No. 2 seeded Mustangs dug themselves into a hole they just couldn’t get out of, falling 13-1 in the quarterfinals of the Central Coast Section Division II Baseball Playoffs.
 “We had an off day, things didn’t go our way,” Mustangs coach Billy Holler said. “Thinking about it in hindsight, I probably shouldn’t have pulled Brendan (Holler) out of pitching.
“We were right there with them and then they started to hit the ball really well. They started to pick up on the curveball and the change-up. Then after we switched pitchers they were looking for the first pitch fastball and they were just hammering it.”
The loss marks a heartbreaking end to a stellar season. It was especially hard for his four season leaders – Ronnie Reed, Branden Holler, Marcus Medina and Jalynd Gallardo — to end their high school career on, Holler said.
Despite losing in the playoffs, the Mustangs shouldn’t hang their heads. They finished their regular season with a perfect record, which earned them a league title – a feat that was last accomplished in the 2007 season.
 “For us it was pretty special,” Holler said. “It was nice finishing on a high note. It was a great year and the boys played well. They did everything they needed to do to win.”
Part of the Mustangs’ success this season was due in part to being placed in the lower Pacific League. Being placed into this league inspired the team to prove the move wasn’t justified, Holler said.
 “We were put into the lower league and the boys responded,” Holler said. “I think they had a little chip on their shoulder and I think they knew they were better than that. I think they proved that.”
 Next season, the Mustangs look to return to the upper Gabilan Division. If that happens, the Mustangs know that being successful won’t come easy, but Holler said that Gilroy wants to prove that their perfect regular season record was no fluke.
“To win that upper league is real difficult, some of the schools are bigger, some of them are private. We’ve got our hands full, let’s just put it that way.” 

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