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Hawks make history
CV baseball team qualifies for Sac-Joaquin Section playoffs for first time
Abraham Navarro (10) and his Central Valley High School varsity baseball teammates and coaches had good reason to celebrate following last weeks 4-1 win over Los Banos. The Hawks secured their first playoff berth in program history. - photo by Dale Butler

Central Valley High School's varsity baseball team played at home for the last time this season on May 6.

The Hawks made history by securing their first-ever Sac-Joaquin Section playoff berth with a 4-1 win over Los Banos.

Central Valley was awarded the Western Athletic Conference's third and final seed for the Division-IV postseason tournament.

The Tigers (15-10-1, 4-8) needed to beat the Hawks twice last week to qualify for the playoffs.

"There was some pressure," said Greg Magni, Central Valley's first and only head coach who will step down at the end of the season to become the school's athletic director. "I'm glad it happened today. It's just so satisfying."

Ruben Casas, a four-year varsity starter, played a major role while leading the Hawks to their most-important victory in program history.

Casas (9-2) tossed a complete-game, three-hitter.

Ruben allowed one run, struck out three and walked four in seven innings.

Casas limited Los Banos to a team-batting average of .150.

"We're always confident when Ruben pitches," Magni said. "He threw strikes. He kept his pitch count down."

Ruben tripled, doubled, knocked in one run and scored once on offense.

Kendel Johnson batted 1-for-3 with one homer, one RBI and one run.

Jorge Alvarez batted 1-for-3 with one RBI.

Michael Ereso and Raul Godinez chipped in with one single and one run each.

Jeff Reeves and Michael Collins both singled.
The Hawks scored three runs in the bottom of the third inning and one in the sixth.

Central Valley committed no errors on defense.

Ruben walked off the mound and celebrated with his Hawk teammates and coaches near the third-base line after registering the final out.

"I was telling myself to keep calm and throw strikes," Casas said when asked what his mind-set was during the final inning of play. "It all happened so fast. It was a blur. It's one of the best feelings. We've had a great season. I'm still not fully processing it."

Casas and fellow seniors Juan Plasencia, Sidney Long, Abraham Navarro, Jordan Justice and Jeff Reeves received special recognition prior to the start of the game.

Central Valley closed out the WAC season with a 4-3 loss at Los Banos on May 7.

Johnson led the way on offense with one double and one RBI.

Long finished 2-for-4 with one run.

Godinez finished 1-for-3 with one run.

Justice finished 1-for-2 with one run.

Casas and Reeves both singled.

Central Valley (19-8, 6-6) will compete in the Sac-Joaquin Section Division-IV postseason tournament this week when it travels to Cosumnes Oaks for a play-in game.

The Hawks posted a 12-2 record on the road during the regular season.

"We're not just happy to be there," Magni said. "We're going to give everything we have."