The Wilson baseball coaching staff all agreed that Friday’s CIF-SS Division 3 quarterfinal game between the Bruins and Bellflower was one of the weirdest they’d ever seen—but one of the sweetest, too. The three-headed Bruins monster of Ryan Pettway, Nick Endres and Aiden Alaniz combined to no-hit the Buccaneers in a 4-2 victory that sends the Bruins to the semifinals for the fourth time in 12 seasons, and the first time since 2011.
“I’ve never coached a no-hitter where we’ve just barely won like that,” said Bruins coach Andy Hall. “I said we were going to win by one or lose by one—it’s a silly game, and weird things happen. I’m pleased for our guys, we grinded it out.”
The fact that the Bruins kept the Bucs out of the hit column didn’t mean they kept them off the basepaths. Bellflower had 11 baserunners in the seven-inning game between two Wilson errors, a hit batter, and seven walks.
All three pitchers admitted it wasn’t the way they would have imagined pitching a no-hitter in the playoffs, but all three said they’d take the win.
“We just knew we had to stay in it and keep working,” said Endres. “With our defense behind us we’re always confident.”
Pettway pitched the first two innings and came out with two outs in the second after walking in a run. Endres took over and pitched through the fifth, with the Buccaneers adding a second run on a sacrifice fly in the fifth.
Compounding some control issues was a strike zone so tight that, “Good miss” and “Nice pitch there” were almost a constant chorus from the Wilson dugout as the Bruins coaches and players tried to urge Pettway, Endres, and Alaniz on.
The pitchers had a lot going for them, especially their defense. The whole team contributed behind their pitchers with centerfielder Ryan Guerero making a diving play that initiated a double-play in the fifth and second baseman Jaylin Cannon had a silky smooth field-and-tag for a double as well.
In the seventh inning with a 4-2 lead the Bruins didn’t play tight, and Alex Seguine and Crixtian Taveras both made quick-react plays to keep the Bucs from notching their first hit.
Hall credited pitching coach Ray Hanson with helping to guide the no-no.
“I give props to Ray, he made the changes at the right times,” said Hall.
Offensively, the Bruins put up 10 hits and threatened constantly, with runners on base in every inning. They tied the game at one in the bottom of the third on an RBI single from Crixtian Taveras, which scored Nolan Ornelas. In the fourth inning Ornelas had his second consecutive double, this one scoring Miguel Martinez to give Wilson a 2-1 lead. An RBI single from Taveras later in the inning scored Alex Seguine. The Bruins got an RBI double from Seguine in the fifth inning, which scored Cannon to put Wilson up 4-1.
The regular season didn’t go the way Wilson wanted, with a second-place finish in the Moore League and the league’s third seed into the playoffs. Nonetheless, Pettway said he wasn’t surprised to see the Bruins in the semifinals.
“Always expect to go all the way, baby, it’s Wilson,” said the uber-confident sophomore.
Wilson now rolls on to the semifinals, with a road game against La Salle next Tuesday. If they win, they’d play in their first CIF-SS championship game since 2008 next Friday or Saturday.
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