Thursday, July 18, 2024

Red Raiders claim two wins

Sports Reporter | July 4, 2024 3:05 AM

WARDEN — Playing at Warden High School while Othello’s field is being renovated, the Othello Red Raiders defeated the Vakima Valley Blues in both games of Tuesday’s doubleheader, winning 8-2 and 15-4 to improve to 4-6 this summer.

“We felt OK — kids have been playing quite a bit of baseball, and we just came back from football camp so there’s a couple kids that are injured, Head Coach Sonny Garza said. “For the most part, we were doing alright, but kind of laboring some injuries and trying to work through soreness and whatnot from so many activities and so much stuff going on. But the kids played well.”

Yakima Valley went up 1-0 in the top of the first inning of the first game, but Othello responded with a two-run bottom of the second to take the lead for good, with Aaden Montes and Zayvier Olascon both scoring off of two Yakima Valley passed balls. 

The lead was extended in the bottom of the third when Sonny Salazar hit a two-run home run, his second in as many days.

“The one thing I’ve been noticing about him is just his confidence — he feels really good about a lot of the things he’s doing on the mound, on defense, at the plate — his confidence is so high,” Garza said of Salazar. “I feel like he’s seeing the ball really well because of how good he feels.”

Montes and Olascon tied for a team-high with two hits apiece, while Salazar and Quade Gonzalez both drove in two runs in the win.

“I talked to the kids before the game about looking for their pitch, getting their pitch in their zone and making good contact, and they were able to capitalize on when they got their pitch and putting good contact on it and hitting the ball hard,” Garza said.

Gonzalez got the start on the mound, pitching 6.1 innings and surrendering two hits, one earned run and two walks while recording 15 strikeouts.

“Quade (Gonzalez) was really dominant (Tuesday) on the mound, he threw really well,” Garza said. “He had all three pitches working for him yesterday, so he was able to throw whatever he wanted and seemed to be in command almost every single at-bat.”

Yakima Valley got rolling on offense early in the nightcap, scoring three runs in the top of the first inning to take an early lead. The lead was short-lived, as Othello rallied with Kal-El Ozuna scored on a wild pitch, Montes hit a two-RBI double and scored on a wild pitch, and Carlos Castillo and Garrett Weyns both drove in runs in the bottom of the first. Othello added seven runs in the bottom of the second and another two runs in the bottom of the third to claim a 15-4 win, scoring 15 runs off eight hits.

“We knew that if we stayed with our plan to get out pitch in our zone, we’re going to hit it hard and we knew we’d be able to score a lot of runs,” Garza said. “As soon as we dug ourselves into a little hole, we got back that bottom half inning and I just reminded the kids about our plan to not really stress, focus on our plan.”

Garza said he was impressed with the team’s resiliency to battle through injuries and come out with two wins on Tuesday.

“These are kind of our rough patches we’re going to face here in the summer when the weather’s hot and the kids have been doing so much,” Garza said. “... We’re just trying to make sure and continue to grind. That’s something that I feel is really big about this group — they just keep working, and working and working.”

Ian Bivona may be reached at  

Box scores

Game One

YVB: 1-0-0-0-0-1-0 2
OTH: 0-2-3-1-0-2-X 8

Game Two

YVB: 3-0-0-1 4
OTH: 6-7-2-X 15

    Red Raider Quade Gonzalez IV picks up a ground ball during the Othello High School baseball season. Gonzalez threw 15 strikeouts during the first game of Tuesday’s doubleheader.