The Sonora High School Wildcats are reading for their first-round CIF Sac-Joaquin section playoff game on Tuesday following a second place finish in the Mother Lode League.
Coach Chet Winham said the team did not meet their goal of a championship this year, but felt ready to make an admirable section run following a four-game winning streak.
“We were trying to find ourselves for most of the season and right here at the end we seemed to be peaking and finding out what it takes for us to win a game,” Winham said.
Sonora High School was selected as the fifth seed in Division IV and will play Tuesday at 6:30 p.m. at home against El Dorado High School, the twelfth seed. El Dorado High School was the same team to knock the Wildcats out of the section last year, Winham said, and the team was eager to avenge their loss.
“We almost won that game. We cannot wait to win on Tuesday,” Winham said.
Sonora finished with a league record of 10-5, behind Argonaut High School who took the title with a 13-2 record.
“That was the goal, to win league, but it's baseball it's a game of failure and triumph, so I feel at the end of this season, we are beginning to triumph,” Winham said.
But more than just winning games, Winham said the Wildcats have developed a deep bond and camaraderie on and off the field.
“Our clubhouse is all friends. Everybody gets along, they tease each other and they play with each other. That is one positive note on this season, how well everyone gets along,” Winham said. “Practices are a lot of fun. It's the way every baseball team should run.”
About two weeks ago, the team dared Winham to grow out his facial hair until they lost. Four games after a win against Bret Harte and on their way to the playoffs, Winham said a beard was growing in.
The players also said they planned to bleach their hair for the playoffs, he said.
“I think they’re going to do it. I can’t wait to see it,” Winham said, laughing.
Winham said Sonora High School’s lead player, senior Tyler Matyshock, was in the running for the league’s most outstanding player after finishing the league with a batting average of .500, and a winning pitching record of 5-1-1 during 44 innings. He had 92 strikeouts on the season, Winham said.
Winham also identified junior Josh Dutra, who earned four wins on the season as pitcher.
“That was not foreseen at the beginning of the season, but he continued to step on the mound when we asked him to perform. He’s done a great job.”
Winham also said Braden Hobbes earned a .342 batting average and was a staunch defensive player, despite working through injuries.
Summerville High School coach John Baldwin said his team was disappointed in their 1-14 Mother Lode League record, but the final result belied their competitiveness throughout the season.
“It was probably frustrating because we played so many good games and didn't have a win to show for it,” he said. “It was just one of those years where it just didn't work out for us.”
Baldwin said his senior class performed well and sophomore Mason Gourley led the team in batting average. Three seniors would return next year with 10 sophomores coming up to varsity.
“I want to give the kids a lot of credit for fighting hard and doing their best,” he said. “Things are looking good for next year.”