Redwood High’s latest pitching statement to rival Hanford meant the Rangers’ second Central Section baseball title in school history this time.
Third-seeded Redwood, after shutting out the Bullpups twice in the West Yosemite League, coasted behind Rickie Garcia’s two-hitter for a 4-0 win at Rawhide Ballpark and the Division II championship Friday night.
The Rangers’ only other section crown occurred in 1984, and they outslugged Hanford 11-10 in that one.
But there would be absolutely no slugging by the Bullpups in the Class-A facility near Redwood’s campus Friday night — not against Garcia, a powerfully built right-hander who has signed with Fresno Pacific.
Playing hard with a fastball/slider combination — and to heck with changeups — Garcia struck out four and walked none for his second win over No. 4 Hanford (21-11-2) this season. Josue Mendivil was responsible for the other domination of the Bullpups.
“This was my best,” said Garcia, who was recruited mainly as a pitcher by the Sunbirds but will also be given a chance to play third base or shortstop. “In bullpen preparation my arm felt great, so I felt good where this was going.”
A convenient trip to the final had Hanford beat Nos. 13, 12 and 9 seeds in Sanger (10-3), North (5-0) and Sunnyside (4-2), all of which was set up after Sunnyside shocked No. 1 Edison (5-0) and North edged No. 5 Tehachapi (2-1).
Redwood (28-7), which had advanced with wins over two other WYL members — No. 6 Hanford West (10-2) and No. 10 Mt. Whitney (8-7) — scored twice in the second inning and retained command wire to wire.
The Rangers, who placed second to El Diamante in the league, took the 2-0 lead against junior right-hander Jensen Brotherson on Tyler Garster’s single, Kameron Trevino’s RBI single, an error on the same play and Cole Daniel’s RBI groundout when Hanford played its infield back.
Redwood closed its scoring in the fourth on a one-out walk to Garster, singles by Chris Gonzalez and Trevino, a run-scoring error and an RBI shot by Cal State Fullerton-bound Eric Charles that knocked down Brotherson on one hop.
Brotherson then left the game, though not by injury as he ran off the field.
Three innings later, it was the Rangers on the run — in a dogpile atop Garcia near the mound — while blanking 11-time section champion Hanford yet again after 5-0 and 8-0 decisions in the WYL.