The Hughson Huskies are riding an 11-game winning streak to start the season and Trans-Valley League rival Hilmar will try to hand them their frist loss.

'Crazy good': Unbeaten Hughson remains No. 1 team in small-school poll

Joe Cortez

Stand around the Hughson High school dugout long enough and you’ll hear somebody mention a “QAB.”

Quality at-bat.

Hughson High baseball coach Charly Garza wants to change the mental approach of his players when at the plate.

“We don’t want them focusing on just getting hits,” said Garza, whose team is now 11-0 and has held the No. 1 spot in Front Row Preps' small-school rankings all season, and retains it this week after two impressive victories over Modesto Christian.

Hits can be few and far between. Success, when measured by batting average, can be fleeting. But a quality at-bat can be earned even with a strikeout. If a player goes deep into the count and fouls off pitch after pitch before finally losing the individual battle to the opposing pitcher, it can still qualify as a QAB.

“Players will come back to the dugout asking, “Was that a QAB?” said Garza. “We have a little contest to see who gets the most QABs, and the winner gets a candy bar or something.”

Modesto Christian head coach Mark Butler took notice after his Crusaders were swept by the Huskies in a home-and-home series.

“Their approach at the plate is crazy good,” said Butler after the second game last Thursday. “They just battle. They’re tough at-bats, and it’s hard to get the ball past them.”

Small School

Editor’s note: Comprised of teams from Trans-Valley League, Mother Lode League, Southern League, Central California Athletic Alliance. Records as of Sunday, March 24, 2019.

1. (1) Hughson (11-0) — The Huskies keep rolling along, getting two solid pitching performances last week from sophomore Eliot Kee and Seth Garza in wins over Trans-Valley League foe then-No. 5 Modesto Christian

2. (2) Mariposa (8-0) — Mariposa twice bested Gustine in a home-and-home series, with Leo Kari earning one of the victories for his region-best fifth win. He struck out 13 and walked none in a 4-1 win over the Southern League rival.

3. (3) Argonaut (7-1) — The Mustangs drop down a spot after suffering their first loss of the season, a 2-1 setback to Sonora in Mother Lode League competition.

4. (5) Modesto Christian (6-4) — The Crusaders actually lost twice and moved up a spot. How is that possible? Because MC lost to the hottest team on the planet in Hughson. No shame in that. Anyway, we learned something about the Crusaders in those losses — they’re very, very good.

5. (4) Big Valley Christian (9-3) — The Lions drop down a spot after a 1-1 week. They hold off Sonora for at least this week. More information is needed about the Wildcats, who’ve had an up-and-down season thus far.