The way coach Ron Scott sees it, outfielder Daniel Gardner and infielder Zak Taylor are the catalysts of the Fresno City College baseball team.
Scott has a good explanation for that: The two left-handed hitters make things happen for the NorCal No. 2-ranked Rams.
“They’ve been fantastic; they get us going in the 1-2 hole,” Scott said. “There’s a point in time where we felt they would be co-MVPs of the league. Those two guys are like co-MVPs for us.”
The two will aim to keep setting the table for the Rams (29-7) when they begin a NorCal Regional best-of-three series against No. 15 Skyline (21-15) starting at 3 p.m. Friday at John Euless Ballpark.
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“Me and him, it’s kind of you go, we go,” Taylor said. “We pick each other up. He gets a hit, my job is to get him over. He gets over, the team gets riled up. It’s the little things that get the job done. Gardy is the leader on the team.”
Gardner, who’s batting .359 with 21 walks and 19 stolen bases, was recently named NorCal Player of the Week.
While he said that had been an individual goal of his, Gardner said it’s time to think big picture: “It’s playoff time,” he said. “Win as a team, and that’s the main goal right there: put a ball on the wall.”
The Rams have five balls, signifying their state championships, on the left-field wall at Euless with the last coming in 1992.
“We have a lot to prove,” said Taylor, the Rams’ top hitter at .385 in 135 at-bats. “We want that ball on the wall and want to win that state championship, but taking it one game at a time is the approach we’re taking.”
That’s the kind of approach Scott likes hearing after the Rams were swept out of the playoffs last season in an opening-round series at Delta.
“Taylor is like a coach on the field,” he said. “He’s made three errors at shortstop in 24 league games, which is unheard of. He runs the game well and he’s hit much better than we thought he would hit, and bunts well.
“I just hope we continue to play like we’ve been playing all year,” Scott added. “They’re a pleasure to coach and watch. Those two guys are our catalysts. Hopefully they continue to be our catalysts and get on base, and let the big guys score runs.”