Buchanan High, the baseball team with all the gaudy records and rankings, won 5-2 at Clovis West on Friday night, held its routine postgame huddle in the outfield, walked out and went home.
And so what when it comes to the 23-1 overall record, 10-1 Tri-River Athletic Conference-leading mark, top rankings in the Central Section and state, and No. 4 nationally.
The Bears know better.
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There are two games with section No. 3 and state No. 10 Clovis next week. And there’s two more with section No. 2 and state No. 6 Clovis North a week later to close the regular season. Then section playoffs.
“Can’t sleep in the TRAC, definitely, not with the talent,” said Buchanan second baseman J.T. Arruda after homering in the first inning and finishing with two hits, two RBIs and two runs. “There’s still a lot of work to be done. We try to stay away from (concentrating on the rankings), stay within our team and play the game.”
Arruda has four section Division I title rings – three in soccer and another last year in baseball.
But he’s kicked his last soccer ball, at least competitively, as he’s headed to Fresno State for baseball with three other teammates – infielders Quentin Selma and Jamal O’Guinn, and catcher Zach Presno. And there’s already four Bears there, including Arruda’s brother, Aaron.
“It’s an eye-opener,” the younger Arruda said of walking away from soccer, which he’s played for 13 years. “But that’s it, all done. It was fun.”
Fun is also being ranked No. 1 in the section by The Fresno Bee, No. 1 in the state by Cal-Hi Sports and No. 4 nationally by MaxPreps.
Fun would also be winning a sixth section championship in 12 years.
But first priority for Buchanan is winning the TRAC, which it leads by one game with four remaining over Clovis North, which beat Clovis East 5-2 behind Brett Walker’s one-hitter. He’s 8-0.
Also improving to 8-0 was Bears junior right-hander Hunter Reinke, who gave up five hits and two runs in six innings against Clovis West (10-14, 4-7), which started five sophomores.
“The rankings are great for the baseball community of Buchanan and great for baseball in the area,” said coach Tom Donald, who’s 431-121-4 (.779) in 18 years with the Bears. “But I don’t want us to get caught up in those things because you lose focus that way. We just try to control and controllables, which is going about our business, really.”