Brandeis, O’Connor looking for strong finish in baseball race

By Pat Turner

Brennan no longer has a perfect District 28-6A record.

That changed this past Saturday as Brandeis, the hottest team in 28-6A, extended its district winning streak to eight games by topping Brennan, 6-3.

The Bears (18-2, 12-1) still hold first place with a two-game lead over Brandeis (15-9, 10-3) and O’Connor (19-6, 10-3). With five games remaining, the Broncos and Panthers hope to make things interesting down the stretch.

Things have been quite interesting for the Broncos in recent weeks, especially after sputtering through a 2-3 beginning in district play.

 “Our guys are playing well,” Brandeis coach Eric Jupe said. “We’re doing a lot of good things. We’ve put ourselves in a good position to get that playoff spot. That’s what we talked about in the fall. We’re in great shape.”

Brandeis, which opened the week with a 6-2 win over Clark (15-7-1, 8-5) displayed that resiliency in the come-from-behind win over Brennan.

Much of the success centered around Ty Fontenot, who shined with his bat and pitching.

Fontenot and the Broncos got into an early jam when Brennan pushed its way to a 2-0 lead on RBI singles from Anthony Valle in the first and fourth innings.

However, Fontenot found his groove and handcuffed the Bears.

In the meantime, he came up big with the bat in the sixth inning.

Aric Vasquez reached on an error and James Cardenas beat out on an infield hit. Fontenot brought home the tying runs by roping a triple down the right-field line. He eventually scored the tying run on Oscar Cardenas’ double.

“I hadn’t had a hit in two games,” Fontenot said. “When I went to the plate, I kept asking myself how bad to do you want it. I had to want it more than the guy on the mound. I told myself I wasn’t going to lose this.”

The Broncos tacked on three more runs in the seventh on James Cardenas’ RBI double and Oscar Cardenas’ two-run double.

However, that 6-2 lead was put to the test during Brennan’s final at-bat.

Brennan, which has made a habit of overcoming deficits throughout district play, were threatening to do the same in its final at-bat.

Fontenot got two outs, but the Bears also loaded the bases and pushed across a run on Michael Cuevas’ single.

With two outs and the bases loaded, Dupe called on Garrett Greenwell to get the final out.  The reliever did what he was asked, getting the final out on a pop to catcher John Michael Ramirez.

“I felt really good out there,” Fontenot said. “I started rough at the beginning but made some adjustments. I was hoping to finish but I started struggling a little and Coach Jupe knew what was best.”

Another big test for Brandeis comes Tuesday when they face O’Connor.

 “This win was huge for us,” Fontenot said. “It shows the hard we’ve done. But there’s still a lot more to be done.”

O’Connor showed its offensive muscle this past week by hammering out a 23-8 victory over Jay and a 13-6 zapping of Taft.

O’Connor saw a 5-0 lead slip away in the bottom of the second inning as Jay explodes for seven runs by taking advantage of four walks, a hit batsman and a two-run double from Dawson Wendell.

The Panthers responded to the situation by bouncing back with eight runs in the third.

An error and bases-loaded walk enabled O’Connor to tie the score. Jackson Blietz then lined a three-run double and Matt Bustamante slashed an RBI single, before Christian Estrada followed with a two-run single.

That ignited the Panthers, who followed with a seven-run fourth and cruised the rest of the way.

Against Taft, O’Connor erased a 2-0 lead in the first with seven runs during its at-bat.

Cade Collenback tied things up with a two-run single and Estrada plated the go-ahead run with a sacrifice fly. Jake Hermesch then punched a two-run single and Sam Castillo delivered an RBI single before another run crossed the plate on an error.

The Raiders stayed on the Panthers’ heels by closing the gap to 8-6 after five on key hits from Garett Johnson and Michael Perales.

O’Connor pulled away with five runs in the sixth on Jack Phipps’ two-run triple and a three-run blast by Isaac Longoria.


Prior to the loss to Brandeis, Brennan displayed its comeback ability in a 7-2 10-inning win over Taft.

The Raiders held a 2-1 lead after AJ DeLeon unloaded a two-run home run in the bottom of the first.

Brennan was unable to get anything going offensively until tying the score in the seventh. Three innings later, the Bears’ offense came to life during a five-run spurt in the 10th highlighted by RBI singles from Xavier Martinez and Cuevas and Jimmy Valle’s run-scoring double.


Stevens (16-7, 9-4) moved into sole possession of fourth place with a 7-4 win over Marshall and a 7-5 win over Marshall.

In the Marshall contest, Stevens broke to a 7-0 lead and held off a Marshall comeback.

Things were a little different against Warren.

The Warriors owned a 4-1 lead before the Falcons turned things around with five runs in the fifth on a bases-loaded walk, Will Marin’s three-run double and an RBI single by Gabriel Casanova.

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