Clovis News: Sports

Grand finish for Bears in TRAC baseball

This wasn't a time to think compassion for a near-lifelong buddy.

"We've been best friends since the sandbox," Seth Batty said of Sean Silva. "But when we get out here, it gets kind of tense."

Never more than Tuesday night before a large crowd at Buchanan High.

The stage: Bottom of the seventh inning, bases loaded, one out and unbeaten Silva on the mound, his top-ranked Clovis West High baseball team leading No. 2 Buchanan 3-0 in a Tri-River Athletic Conference showdown.

And, of course, "Baseball Batty" -- as introduced by public address announcer Nick Papagni -- digging into the right-handed batter's box.

Silva, 6-0 with a 1.00 ERA coming in, throws a cutter, low and away.

Batty: "I sat on it, saw it and took probably the biggest swing of my life."

He launched a towering drive that just cleared the wall and glove of Golden Eagles right fielder Jared Lee for a walk-off grand slam, a 4-3 Bears victory and, as Buchanan coach Tom Donald said: "A moment that Batty will never forget the rest of his life."

Buchanan (18-3-1), ranked 11th in the state by Cal-Hi Sports and an 8-4 winner over Clovis West in the first round of TRAC play, took over sole possession of first place in the league at 7-1.

The Golden Eagles (20-3), ranked third in the state, are 6-2 in the TRAC after having an 11-game winning streak snapped.

Somehow, they'll attempt to pry their chins off the ground before getting another shot at the Bears at Clovis West at 6:30 p.m. Friday.

"That's the great thing about this: We get another opportunity," Eagles coach Kevin Patrick said. "It's a tough one to swallow, but tip your hat to Buchanan. I think they had a guy they wanted up in that situation, and he came up big."

That "guy" -- UC Davis-bound outfielder Batty -- opposed Silva at a time his left-handed buddy was sailing with a three-hitter and 11 strikeouts.

But Silva, facing a team honoring the military by wearing army fatigues, had for the first time displayed some fatigue of his own by sandwiching walks to Brent Etiz and Kyle Novak around Seth Moranda's single.

Then the Batty blow, making a winner of sophomore Moranda (7-1, 0.57 ERA), who pitched a four-hitter.

"He," Moranda said of Batty, "is a good player who always comes through in the clutch."

Related stories from Fresno Bee