Overcast skies and a sporadic light sprinkle was not the ideal setting for the Patterson High varsity baseball home opener, but Tuesday’s game had a very special start despite the gloomy weather.
Head coach Harley Parson’s father-in-law Andy Gavino, who was a former baseball player and coach in his own right and helped found the Mexican-American League in the Ceres and Modesto area in the late 1960’s and early 1970’s was present. Joining him was former Patterson High athletic director and coach Dave Klein, who amassed three section titles in three different sports during his tenure as a Tiger.
The two made their mark on local baseball lore and were invited by Parson and the team to throw out a ceremonial first pitch to begin Patterson’s home opener this season.
“That was amazing for me. I’ve been thinking about having them do that. My father-in-law came into my life at a real good time and I coached with him. Dave Klein, I coached with him in baseball and softball and learned a lot of my coaching stuff with him. Just to be able to have them meant everything to me,” head coach Harley Parson said following the game.
After honoring Gavino and Klein, the Tigers took to their home field for the first time this season against Ripon High. The Indians ambushed the Tigers early, scoring six runs in the first two innings.
The visitors increased their lead to 8-0 with a pair of runs in the top of the fourth inning. While Patterson broke the shutout with three runs in the bottom of the frame, the scoring would end there as the Tigers endured a 12-3 loss to Ripon on Feb. 26.
“I just got to get my kids to where they’re being disciplined. It’s so easy to play throw and catch, so what we’re trying to do with the kids is work on making the obvious throws and hitting each other in the chest and throwing to our zones,” Parson said following the defeat. “I have a lot of younger kids here, and we don’t have a lot of varsity experience, so that’s what I’ve been working on. I know we’re going to have games like this. If we can’t hit our zones with our pitching and we can’t make a play where they do hit it to us, we’re going to have games like this.”
In total the pitching staff (junior Zach Rodriguez, sophomore Logan McCleery and junior Cesar Martin) combined to give up 10 walks to the Ripon offense. Of the 12 runs scored by the Indians, only four of those were recorded as earned runs against the pitching staff.
Martin had a strong outing at the plate for the Tigers, going 2-3 with a triple and two RBIs against Ripon.
Patterson dropped to 1-1 following the loss. Ripon improved to 2-0.
No-hitter in season opener
Seniors Miguel Alvarez and Ryan Phelps combined to throw a no-hitter at Riverbank High School on Feb. 22 in the first game of the season. Despite holding the Bruins to no hits, Riverbank was still able to score three runs off walks and errors. Despite allowing Riverbank to score, Patterson finished with a resounding 12-3 victory.
Both Alvarez and Phelps threw three innings and three strikeouts in the combined no-no.
Patterson trailed the Bruins 2-1 after the first inning of play, but the Tigers routed Riverbank 11-1 over the next six innings. The Tigers did so with patience at the plate and aggressive base running.
In total, Patterson had five walks and a whopping 11 stolen bases during last Friday’s game. Patterson had seven different players record a stolen base. Sophomore Jordan Imada and senior Joseph McGarry had two stolen bases each. Alvarez piled up three stolen bases.
Junior Zach Rodriguez led the Tigers in hitting going 2-3 with a double, walk and a pair of RBIs. Phelps went 1-4 at the plate with two RBIs, while Alvarez was 1-4 with an RBI and three runs.