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CV baseball compiles 13-12 overall record
•Hawks finish fourth in CCC with 5-7 mark, just miss securing playoff spot
Ryan Estermann, Diego Delahoya, Miguel Espinoza, Jake Olson, Bussard, Gage Mastropierro, Jayson Casias and Martin Reyes
Coach Brad Bussard recognized Central Valley’s seven senior baseball players at their final home on May 3 in Ceres. Pictured: Ryan Estermann, Diego Delahoya, Miguel Espinoza, Jake Olson, Bussard, Gage Mastropierro, Jayson Casias and Martin Reyes. - photo by Contributed to the Courier

Eliminated from playoff consideration, Central Valley’s baseball program played three non-conference games during the final week of the 2023 campaign.

The Hawks ended the season on a positive note by edging out Downey 2-1 in eight innings on May 4 in Modesto.

Central Valley compiled a 13-12 overall record this spring.

Downey, a Sac-Joaquin Section Division-II playoff qualifier, dropped to 14-13 on the season.

“We played a very challenging schedule filled with a ton of playoff teams,” Hawks’ first-year head coach Brad Bussard said. “I’m happy with how resilient our team was dealing with a bunch of arm injuries. We’ll have a ton of returners coming back. As long as we stay healthy, we should be competing with the best of them. The future of the program is definitely bright.”

Central Valley senior middle infielder/pitcher Ryan Estermann had a memorable ending to his prep baseball career.

Estermann’s solo home run over the left-field fence in the top of the eighth inning proved to be the difference in the game.

“It was a poetic ending,” Bussard said. “He’s been a four-year varsity player for us. He’s been our best hitter the last two to three years. To top it off, he got the save in the bottom of the eighth inning.”

Estermann (5-2) picked up the save and win while tossing four innings of relief.

He surrendered no runs and two hits with three strikeouts and one walk.

Starter Chris Garcia earned a no-decision.

The sophomore standout had four strikeouts and one walk in four innings.

He allowed one run and two hits.

Garcia logged just nine innings on the mound this year due to arm fatigue.

“He looked great,” Bussard said. “He’s finally getting back to where he used to be before the injury.”

Estermann batted 1-for-4 from the plate with one homer, one RBI and one run.

Caiden Whittle batted 1-for-3 with one RBI.

Fernando Dominguez scored once.

Eddie Stewart singled.

Central Valley lost 6-3 to Grant on Senior Day in Ceres on May 3.

“We didn’t play our best baseball,” Bussard said.

Estermann and fellow seniors Diego Delahoya, Jayson Casias, Miguel Espinoza, Gage Mastropierro, Jake Olson and Martin Reyes played on their home field for the final time.

“It’s going to be tough not having them next year,” Bussard said. “They’ve done a lot for the program. All I can do is thank them.”

Delahoya (3-3) was the Hawks’ starting pitcher.

He gave up five runs and four hits with seven strikeouts and four walks 

Delahoya batted 1-for-2 from the plate with one RBI and one run.

Casias batted 1-for-4 with one double and two RBIs.

Estermann batted 2-for-4 with one double.

Olson and Reyes both scored once.

Dominguez and Edgar Peralta both singled.

Pioneer topped Central Valley 2-1 on May 1 in Woodland.

Hawk Miguel Espinoza’s RBI single to right field evened the score at 1-1 in the top of the seventh inning.

The Patriots won the game via a walk-off hit in the bottom half of the inning.

“It was a great game,” Bussard said. “We lost but I’m still satisfied with how our team played. We were facing a (future) Division-I (college) pitcher. We battled the whole game.”

Central Valley starting pitcher Garret Garcia (1-2) turned in a respectable performance.

He yielded no earned runs and two hits with six strikeouts and two walks in five innings.

“It was good seeing him back on the mound,” Bussard said. “He’s been dealing with arm issues all year.”

Garret Garcia batted 2-for-3 from the plate with two doubles.

Raul Hernandez batted 1-for-1 with one RBI.

Josiah Sandoval scored once.

Espinoza singled.

Central Valley finished in fourth place in the Central California Conference standings with a 5-7 mark this spring.

El Capitan (17-3-1, 10-1), Patterson (14-7, 8-3) and Golden Valley (11-15, 6-6) took first, second and third, respectively.

The top three teams from the CCC qualified for the Sac-Joaquin Section playoffs.

“We were not consistent in league this year, which was frustrating,” Bussard said. “That was our downfall.”

Ryan Estermann
Ryan Estermann batted 2-for-4 from the plate with one double during Central Valley’s 6-3 loss to Grant on May 3 in Ceres. - photo by DALE BUTLER/ Courier file photo