Panthers handle the Spartans

(Kason Clark)

Porterville baseball picks up a 10-1 win at home against Strathmore; Panthers snap a two-game losing streak and have now won four straight meetings with the Spartans

PORTERVILLE – Riding a two-game losing streak heading into this past Friday night, Porterville baseball needed a big win. And at home against the Strathmore Spartans, the Panthers got what they needed with a 10-1 victory.

“A win’s a win and that was a good one,” Porterville head coach Pete Carganilla said of the March 8 match. “We struggled at the beginning but we ended up coming out with the win so it was good.”

After losing their two previous games, Louie Torres and his teammates knew how important this game was.

“It was a really big win because we were kind of down on ourselves,” Torres said. “But we had to fight together as a team, come back and power through. Just be strong and not give up.”

The Panthers have also won four straight meetings against the Spartans dating back to 2020. As the Panthers once again defeated Strathmore, Torres believes they just came in ready.

“We just do our homework on them,” Torres said. “We know who’s pitching. We know what he throws and we know what to expect so we know what to do.”

The Panthers did have to overcome a slow start to find their stride against the Spartans. In the top of the third inning, the Spartans took the lead when Lucas Wilson scored on a fielder’s choice. But the Panthers quickly responded.

In the bottom of the third, Torres tied the game with a solo home run to center field. The Panthers built off this as they went on to take the lead in the bottom of the fourth. Cade Correa gave the Panthers the advantage with an RBI single to left field. Xavier Aguilera then put the ball in play to allow Erik Shiers to score on the fielder’s choice.

As the Panthers got going at the plate, Torres believes it stemmed off his big hit to tie the game.

“I just brought back the energy,” Torres said. “That hit was pretty huge but we also just had a good talk to bring ourselves up. We couldn’t lose, we had to fight through.”

The Panthers continued to add onto their lead in the fourth. Teran Warden scored on an error to make it 4-1. With the bases loaded, Jacoby Roman drove in a pair of runs with a double to right field. An RBI double from Jose Perez pushed the lead out to 7-1 to end the inning.

strat-v-por-bb-xavier-aguilera-pitch-11-24-kec
Porterville’s Xavier Aguilera pitches against Strathmore this past Friday. The Panthers defeated Strathmore, 10-1. (Kason Clark)

The Panthers kept piling it on in the bottom of the fifth. Back-to-back Strathmore errors allowed the Panthers to score a pair of runs. An RBI double from Torres extended the lead to 10-1. While the offense was rolling, the pitching and defense held it down the rest of the way to secure the win.

“They played well,” Carganilla said about the Porterville defense. “The defense has been playing way better than it has the last few games.”

After falling against Porterville, Strathmore has now lost two straight games to fall to 3-3 this season. As the Spartans look to get back on track, Strathmore head coach Mark Balderama believes they just need to clean up the mistakes.

“We have to just eliminate the errors,” Balderama said. “That’s just about it. That’s what’s been killing us lately.”

After defeating Strathmore, the Panthers suffered a 2-0 loss to Pioneer Valley this past Saturday to fall to 2-3. Porterville will next begin its season in the East Yosemite League this week. As the Panthers look to compete for a league title, their focus going forward will be simple.

“We just have to keep playing,” Carganilla said. “We just have to keep competing, do all the small things right and things should work out. Just pitch and play defense and we should be okay.”

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