Make it four straight trips to the Central Section Division I baseball finals for Buchanan High, though it was a bit of a sweat in the seventh inning Wednesday night.
The top-seeded Bears, ranked eighth in the MaxPreps.com national Xcellent 25, rode Zach Presno’s go-ahead solo homer and a J.D. Ortiz RBI single to a 3-1 lead in the fifth, then held on to beat fifth-seeded Clovis West 3-2 in a Wednesday semifinal.
Clovis West’s D.J. Schramm brought the Golden Eagles within a run with a solo homer in the top of the seventh.
Third-seeded Clovis – for the third time in the past four years – awaits in the final, scheduled for 8 p.m. Saturday as the finale of the two-day, six-game section championships at Rawhide Ballpark in Visalia.
The Cougars won 7-5 in eight innings at No. 2 Stockdale. Mason Grotto had the go-ahead hit in a final inning interrupted in the top half by an 8-minute delay after the sprinklers came on. Grotto was 3 for 5 with three RBIs.
Among other divisions, No. 7 Fresno Christian beat No. 2 Parlier 6-3 to reach the D-V I final against top-seeded Sierra – a 6-0 winner over No. 5 Riverdale.
In Firebaugh, after surrendering the go-ahead run in the top half of the inning, the Eagles walked off in the eighth against Exeter on solo homers by Tylor Palmer and Noey Garcia. The Eagles will face No. 2 Wasco, a 7-1 winner over No. 6 Mission Oak.
Central Section baseball championships
At Rawhide Ballpark in Visalia
Division V: No. 1 CVC vs. No. 2 Sierra Pacific, 5 p.m.
D-II: No. 1 Redwood vs. No. 7 Mt. Whitney, 8 p.m.
D-IV: No. 1 Firebaugh vs. No. 2 Wasco, 9:30 a.m.
D-III: No. 1 Porterville vs. No. 3 Highland, 1 p.m.
D-VI: No. 1 Sierra vs. No. 7 Fresno Christian, 4:30 p.m.
D-I: No. 1 Buchanan vs. No. 3 Clovis, 8 p.m.