By Damian Marquez
Woodlake — The Woodlake baseball team has figured out how to win in the East Sequoia League.
The Tigers are back-to-back co-league champions and have won three of the last four titles.
But the Tigers still haven’t figured out the Central Section playoffs.
No. 6 Woodlake saw its season come to an end with a 2-0 loss to No. 11 Shafter in the Division V playoffs on May 17 in Woodlake.
“It was a great season for our boys,” Woodlake Coach Raul Quintero said. “They worked hard all year. They battled and won a league championship. That’s a great way to at last finish the regular season. It was a great season overall.”
The Tigers finished the season with a 19-8 record.
And for a team with just three seniors, the Tigers had plenty to be proud of.
“Those seniors leave with two league championships as memories and they were a part of the program since they were freshman,” Quintero said. “We talked about the torch being passed to the younger boys. Those three seniors gave their hearts and souls to the
program. They led by example and gave us all they had.
Unfortunately, we couldn’t send them off with a win.”
Woodlake’s three seniors played huge roles in the team’s success.
Eric Schwarz posted a .412 batting average with 13 RBIs and five triples. He also went 4-1 on the mound with a 2.25 earned run average.
Tyler Jones hit .343 with 20 RBIs.
And Thomas Woods hit .321 with 10 RBIs and 22 runs scored.
The future continues to look bright for Woodlake with all of its young players gaining experience and playing in several big games this season.
Freshman Robby Stevenson had a breakout season and should be one of the better players in the area for the next three years.
Stevenson hit .388 with 24 RBIs and seven extra-base hits, but his presence was mostly felt on the mound.
He went 10-2 with a 0.70 ERA.
In 80 innings pitched, he recorded 104 strikeouts.
Junior Carlos Pena played through a shoulder injury and hit .344 with 16 RBIs.
It will be interesting to see what a healthy Pena can do his senior season.
And freshman Jordan Price hit .321 and finished with eight RBIs.
“The future is definitely exciting,” Quintero said.
“We are looking forward to next year. We’re young and there are kids with a lot of potential, who were able to shine.
Hopefully, we can add some more players to the young group and fill some holes and continue to compete. As long as we give ourselves a chance to win, that’s all we can ask for.”