Delano High School baseball shocked the city by prevailing over the Arvin High Bears May 8 with a score of 6-4.
The Bears were ranked one seed lower than Delano at nine and had finished with a league record of 7-5 with two wins over Cesar Chavez and one over Robert F. Kennedy. The two teams were considerably evenly matched going into the game, and this made for some great baseball.
Arvin struck first, scoring a run in the first inning. However, the Tigers would be quick to add two runs of their own off of a two-RBI single hit by sophomore Jimmy Tafoya. Delano would battle back and forth like this for numerous innings, until they took a commanding 5-2 lead headed to the final two innings.
The top of the sixth inning would prove detrimental for the Tigers, however, after Arvin managed to score two runs to keep their postseason hopes alive. Delano responded with an insurance run and headed to the top of the seventh the Tigers trusted sophomore pitcher Aaron Cavazos to hold their 6-4 lead.
Cavazos started off great with a couple of strikes to start the at-bat, but after a hit things began to get tense. In a move that seemed to seal Arvin's fate a hitter hit to shortstop Nate Cardenas, and the Bears' runner at second then proceeded to get himself in the middle of a chase down. The runner was caught and with a quick throw back to second base the Arvin batter that had made his way all the way to second was caught out too. After another Arvin single, the ball was hit to second basemen Daniel Loera to end the game by stepping on second base.
With this close affair winning a second-round playoff game may have seemed to surprise many Tiger fans. And on Friday, against No. 1 Minarets High near Coarsegold, many were astonished to find the Tigers with the bases loaded at the top of the 7th inning and two outs. The score was 5-1 for Minarets, but the Tigers had chased senior starting pitcher Aaron Hall from the game. No other team had even scored a run against Hall all season.
Minarets brought in third basemen, Tylor Painter, to finish off the game against Delano's utility guy, Daniel Loera. Loera rattled a shot down the third base line that would have scored at least three Delano players. But, it just went foul. After a long battle, in which Painter's baseball cap flew off his head after every pitch, the Minarets Mustangs would get the final strikeout.
Hall dominated the Tigers early, but got into trouble in the sixth and finally the seventh inning against Delano, after sophomore Casey Jasso Jr. hit a double. This hit led to the Tiger seniors getting things going with center fielder Justin Martinez singling, knocking in Jasso. Followed by first baseman Aidan Garaygordobil lining a shot into right field. Third basemen Aaron Cavazos would then draw a walk to fill the bases.
Minarets High coaches replaced Hall at that point, and after a fierce eight-pitch at-bat, Loera would strike out to end the Tigers season. The post-game speech wouldn't be too monotone and highlighted the best moments of the season as a team.
With a final record of 11-18 and a postseason win, the Tigers defied expectations. The team consisted of a starting lineup of three sophomores and four juniors and was considerably young.