STOCKTON — There’s a reason that Los Banos High’s baseball team has won 22 games in row.
The Tigers know how to win.
Usually, it’s a violent left hook to the jaw. Fifteen times this season, the Tigers have drubbed an opponent by 10 runs or more. Another five wins have come via seven- to nine-run margins.
But the first two games in the Sac-Joaquin Section Division IV playoffs have gone the distance. After beating Pioneer 6-4 on Thursday in their postseason opener, the top-seeded Tigers, who received a first-round bye, needed some seventh-inning heroics to defeat Central Catholic 4-3 on Tuesday at Stagg High School.
Miguel Espana hit a two-two-in double off starter Daulton Durossette that turned a one-one-run deficit into a one-run victory, propelling Los Banos into Wednesday’s 7 p.m. matchup against Casa Roble — an 11-6 winner over Livingston — at Tony Zupo Field in Lodi. Livingston and Central Catholic play at 4 p.m. at Zupo
All told, there are 11 local team still in action.
In Division III, at Kline Family Field at the University of the Pacific in Stockton, No. 5 Oakdale takes on No. 3 Atwater and the loser is eliminated from the tournament. At 7 p.m., top-seeded Buhach Colony takes on Ponderosa.
In Division V, at Stagg High School, No. 3 Hughson tangles wit N o. 5 Bear River at 4 p.m., followed by No. 2 Colfax vs. No. 1 Argonaut at 7 p.m.
In Division VI, No. 5 Waterford takes on top-seeded Ripon Christian in an elimination game, with the winner moving on to face Mariposa in the championship game
Nursing a one-run lead, Central Catholic coach Danny Ayala sent his ace back to the hill a seventh inning of work. Durossette fanned Gino Galardi for the first out, but Sebastian Arrechavala triple past the outstretched glove of right fielder Adrian Taylor, giving leadoff man Trent Mallonee a chance to bring in the tying run. But Durossette walked Mallonee, setting the stage for Espana, who got a 2-1 fastball on the outer half of the plate and went with it to right field for a game-winning, two-run double.