Barons run out of time to defeat the Pasadena Minutemen


Senior and first baseman Isaac Almendarez (8) reaching out to catch the baseball with his right foot still touching the base. Senior and second baseman Caiden Regadio (9) runs behind him to back up Alamendarez.


On Wednesday, April 17, Bonita Vista Boys’ Baseball took the field in their third game of the San Diego Lions Tournament against the Maranatha High School Minutemen of Pasadena. Following a close loss the day before to the St. Augustine High School Saints, the Barons sought to bounce back and gain some momentum for league matches ahead.

“The Lions Tournament is the best tournament in the spring for high school baseball in San Diego; it’s always a privilege to play in it,” Head Coach, Dave Palet said. “[The Saints] were the best team we’ve faced. I thought we hung with them really well. Unfortunately, we ended up on the bottom end of things.”

Ultimately, the Barons would suffer another loss in the tournament, as the Minuteman won 6-3. This loss dropped the Barons’ overall record to 10-10 in the season.

“Everyone put their best foot forward, but we came up short,” center fielder and relief pitcher and senior, DiMaggio Cazares (6) said.

In the first inning, the Minutemen scored two runs with three hits, catching the Barons by surprise with a 2-0 lead. Trailing early, the Barons were forced to rally, but their offense came up short in the first three innings, ultimately scoring no runs.

“There were a lot of pop-ups (fly outs). Our coaches preached us to [hit the ball] low to the ground [to avoid pop-ups]. Anybody can catch a pop-up; I think we had 20 pop-ups in the game,” Cazares said.

Through the first three innings, third baseman and junior, Eric Nakano (16) was the only man to reach base on a second-inning single. Nakano was the Barons’ most productive hitter that afternoon, with three hits on three at bats.

“[I had] an overall good feel for my swing, and [was] able see the ball out of the pitchers hand very well,” Nakano said.

Despite the struggling offense, the Barons pitching and defense held their ground, allowing no more runs through the top of the fourth inning. The Minutemen reached base multiple times, but did not score as the Barons defense remained strong.

“We have a lot of intensity within this game. Going into it, we knew [the Minutemen] were a good team, so there was a lot of focus [on our end],” Cazares said.

In the bottom of the fourth inning, the Barons’ offense woke up. Designated hitter and senior, Raymundo “Rumble” Reyes (16) reached second base as a result of a fielding error committed by the Minutemen. Right fielder and junior Jesus “Bubba” Villegas (13) then hit a single to get on base, and Nakano proceeded to drive in a run. Cazares added another run batted in (RBI) to tie the score at 2-2. Palet credited the teams shift to focusing on short hits, known as “small ball,” to their rally.

“We played small ball to get some runs across,” Palet said. “We’ve had a hard time with pop-outs this entire season and gave [opponents] easy outs. Today, we were able to execute, get base hits, and bring [the Minutemen’s] infield in so we could hit the ball past them.”

However, the Minutemen would swiftly respond. Following an initial strikeout, maranatha outfielder and senior, Cam Slessor was hit by a pitch, allowing him to advance to first base. The Minuteman offense then scored three runs on three hits to take control of the game with a 5-2 lead.

Cazares, who entered the fifth inning as a relief pitcher, attributed the Minuteman’s successes to his struggles in the inning. He hopes to improve, as he states, “I just want to hit my spots better. A lot of their hits were missed pitches; pitches that were supposed to be more high [in the strike zone] or a little bit outside.”

Second baseman and senior, Caiden Ragadio (9) drove in a run in the bottom of the fifth inning with a sacrifice hit, but the Barons rally came up short and the Minutemen held on to win the game.

“We have to score more [than we did]. We can’t sit there and play selfish,” Palet said. “Today’s game was the second best game we played, even though we ended up with a loss. This was a really good effort. [The Minutemen] were state champions a year ago. We had a chance to win and that shows we can play with anybody.”

With league matches on the horizon, the Barons look forward to getting back on track for the final stretch and to finish the season strong.

“Right now we can only control what comes next. These next six games are going to be important to decide if we make the playoffs or not,” Nakano said.

Moving forward from the loss, the Barons have begun to shift their focus on a playoff push. Their ultimate goal, to reach the California Interscholastic Federation (CIF) championship, is kept in mind, and Palet remains hopeful that his team can win it all.

“I want these guys to grasp [the importance of] being a family and I want them to go out as champions. Anything can happen in the playoffs. We just got to get in,” Palet said.