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CV baseball team posts 15-14 overall record, qualifies for Division-I playoffs
Central Valley’s baseball team May 2024
Central Valley’s baseball team enjoyed a bounce-back season this spring. The Hawks compiled a 15-14 overall record, finished third in the Central California Conference standings and qualified for the Sac-Joaquin Section Division-I playoffs. - photo by Contributed to the Courier

Central Valley’s baseball team put a scare into heavily-favored Oak Ridge in the opening round of the Sac-Joaquin Section Division-I playoffs.

Tied at 2-2, the 13th-seeded Hawks allowed five runs in the bottom of the fourth inning en route to losing 7-3 to the fourth-seeded Trojans on May 7 in El Dorado Hills.

“I’m very pleased with how we played,” said head coach Brad Bussard. “It was a super competitive game. We were scrappy. They were impressed.”

Central Valley amassed a 15-14 overall record and finished in third place in the Central California Conference with a 8-4 mark this spring.

Oak Ridge improved to 16-14 overall. The Trojans took second in the Sierra Foothill League (9-6).

“We played a very competitive schedule. The most impressive thing is we had five sophomores in our starting lineup. CV is making a name for itself. Our future is very bright.”

Edmund Stewart made his final start at pitcher for the Hawks.

He surrendered one earned run and one hit with one strikeout and three walks in three innings.

“It was a gutty performance. He was throwing strikes. He did a good job. We’re going to really miss him next year.”

Nicholas Dominguez relieved Stewart.

He allowed five runs and five hits with three strikeouts and one walk in three innings.

“When he settled in, he was fine." 

Central Valley totaled six hits on offense versus Oak Ridge.

Sophomore Mason Whitworth batted 1-for-3 from the plate with two runs.

Junior Edgar Peralta batted 2-for-3 with one double and one RBI.

Sophomore Fernando Dominguez batted 1-for-3 with one double and one RBI.

Junior Chris Garcia scored one run.

Stewart singled.

The Hawks led 2-0 at the end of the first inning.

Tied at 2-2, the Trojans seized the momentum in the fourth inning. Dylan Westbrook, Oak Ridge’s No. 3 batter, did most of the damage as he hit a grand slam with two outs.

“The game was closer than the score. Every inning, we had guys on base. We were putting pressure on them.”

The Trojans topped No. 12 Enochs 12-0 in the quarterfinals.

Oak Ridge earned the right to face top-seeded St. Mary’s in the semifinals.

“We played a really good game against a really good team."

“If we had a healthy Chris (Garcia) on the mound, they were going to be in trouble,” he added.

Chris Garcia, Central Valley’s ace pitcher, was limited to just 101/3 innings on the mound this spring due to arm fatigue.

The Hawks could have also used Garret Garcia’s help this spring. He opted not to play for health reasons.

“To see what we did without a healthy Chris on the mound and Garret, in my mind is very impressive. All the credit goes to the kids.”

Stewart and Hawk teammates Juan Alonzo, Raul Hernandez, Josiah Sandoval and Caiden Whittle will be lost to graduation in June.

Central Valley could return as many as eight players from this year’s team next season.

The Hawks will also move from the CCC to the Western Athletic Conference as part of the Sac-Joaquin Section’s realignment plan.

“We return a lot of guys. The expectation is league championships.”