Central Valley High School's varsity baseball team nearly swept six-time defending Western Athletic Conference champion Central Catholic this week.
The Hawks split their two-game series with the Raiders and remained in third place in the WAC standings.
"It's a little disappointing we didn't finish them off," Central Valley head coach Greg Magni said. "But we're happy with the split. We're just as good as they are. We held our own. There's nothing to hang our heads about. We're hoping this catapults us into the playoffs."
The Hawks (18-5, 5-5) moved a step closer to qualifying for the postseason for the first time in program history.
Central Valley will close out WAC play with a home-and-away series versus fourth-place Los Banos (3-7).
"We know what it feels like to be close," said Magni, whose team was eliminated from playoff contention the last day of the 2012 WAC regular season. "We're hoping that experience has prepared us for this week. If we win, we're in. We're anxious, excited and confident. I'm glad we play them. We wouldn't want it any other way."
Central Valley upset Central Catholic 6-2 on Wednesday in Modesto.
The Raiders won the previous five meetings against the Hawks by a combined score of 40-12.
"It's definitely one of the biggest wins we've ever had," Magni said.
Ruben Casas pitched a complete game en route to picking up his eighth win of the season.
Casas had 12 strikeouts and allowed five hits.
He singled on offense.
Michael Ereso batted 2-for-4 with two RBIs.
Jeff Reeves batted 2-for-3 with one run.
Austin Burns batted 1-for-2 with one RBI and one run.
Sidney Long, Raul Godinez and Kendel Johnson all scored once.
Central Valley had to settle for a split after losing 13-7 to Central Catholic on Friday in Ceres.
The Hawks squandered a 7-6 lead in the top of the seventh inning. The Raiders evened the score and tallied six runs in the eighth to secure the victory.
"We needed three outs and didn't get it done," Magni said. "We just didn't make the plays we needed to."
Central Valley batted .231 (6-for-26) as a team with eight strikeouts.
Casas finished 1-for-2 with one triple, one RBI and two runs.
Reeves finished 1-for-4 with two RBIs.
Johnson finished 1-for-3 with two runs.
Jorge Alvarez finished 1-for-3 with one RBI and one run.
Ereso finished 1-for-3 with one run.
Godinez scored once.
Michael was the losing pitcher.
He allowed six runs, four earned, and nine hits with five strikeouts and one walk in 42/3 innings of relief.