By Colby Jobinger —
O’Neals — Playoff baseball is in full swing at Minarets High School. On Wednesday, May 15, the semifinal game between the Minarets Mustangs and the Caruthers Blue Raiders was a high intensity matchup.
Both teams’ starting pitchers pitched extremely well and the stakes were high going into the later innings. During the third inning Senior Chris Bowe got hit by a pitch, but a few pitches into the next at bat Bowe bolted towards second, stealing the bag. Senior Zack Redman hit a ground ball to second base and moved Chris over to third base. Then the “Big Dog,” senior Tyler Painter, stepped up to the plate and hit a line drive into left field scoring Chris the first run of the game.
As more innings pasted in the one-to-zero game, nerves began to grow. That was, until the bottom of the fifth inning when senior Ethan Miller hit a base hit into right field and advanced to second on a misplayed ball by the right fielder. Nick Taylor hit a sharp ground ball to third ball and was thrown out at first. Miller, being a great base runner, took advantage of the throw to first and advanced to third base. With two outs in the inning and two strikes, senior Aaron Hall hit a ground ball up the middle and Miller scored extending the lead to two to zero.
The two runs, however, would have meant nothing if it were not for senior Tyler Painter and his amazing pitching. Painter has pitched only two times this seasons — once against Liberty, which was a no hitter, and this game, where he pitched another completed game shut out. Jesse Darrah, Minarets Head Coach and recipient of the West Sequoia League Coach of the Year, couldn’t stress enough how amazing Tyler pitched.
“Tyler is an unbelievably skilled catcher so that’s where he normally plays,” says Coach Darrah, “and when he’s asked to pitch in these tough situations he steps up and pitches great, too.”
The game remained uneventful through the seventh inning when a ground ball to senior Chris Bowe and a strong throw to first ended the game. The team celebrated this hard fought victory, seen in footage shot by Mustang parent Julie Jobinger at the end of the game.
“We feel really good right now,” Darrah says. “We have the right mentality this year and we feel like we are ready for the challenge of whatever is to come.”
The Minarets Mustangs will be facing off against the Liberty Hawkes at 4:30 p.m. on Friday, May 17, at the Fresno State Baseball Stadium. The stakes are high and so is the reward, so make sure to come out and show your Minarets Mustangs your support.
Colby Jobinger is a student at Minarets High School
Fresno State Baseball Stadium: