West Ranch baseball rides offense, survives defense


One word defined West Ranch baseball’s 9-6 win over St. Mary’s at Buchanan High in Clovis on Friday, and one word nearly derailed it.

“We are going to be offensive,” said West Ranch coach Casey Burrill, “and we know we’re going to be offensive, and we’re planning on being offensive, and in today’s game, we won because we were offensive.”

“We clearly need to work on our defense.”

The Wildcats rattled off 13 hits, the biggest a two-run home run from Nicholas Perez in the top of the fifth inning, and made six errors in the first game of a three-day Fresno-area tournament.

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Wildcat Alex Burge finished 2-for-3 with three RBIs, while Chris Freeman was 3-for-3 with an RBI on the hottest day of baseball Burrill can remember.

Temperatures, the coach said, reached 110 degrees.

Fittingly, West Ranch wasted no time warming up its offense.

Jovan Camacho led off the game with a double. Christos Stefanos singled him to third. And Will Chambers drove in Camacho with an RBI groundout.

Burge drove in his first run later in the inning on a fielder’s choice.

“We stayed on them the entire game,” said Burrill, whose team scored a run each in the second and third innings before scoring three runs in the fourth.

Trent Bird started on the mound for West Ranch, pitching three innings and allowing two runs (one earned) on two hits.

He struck out three and walked two.

Matty Frierson allowed two runs (one earned) in two innings of relief. Brenden Fisher kept St. Mary’s off the board for 1 1/3 frames for West Ranch, which graduated its entire infield left of first base.

“We have six or seven guys in the program that are getting lots of playing time to win those three spots,” Burrill said, adding that repetition would be a key to shoring up the Cats’ defense.

“It’s the two-out groundball to our guy throwing across the infield for a strike that’s going to be everything for our season next year.”

West Ranch will play a double-header in Clovis today, with JD Callahan starting on the mound in the first game.

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