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KYUSUNG GONG, STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER
Sonora's Jacob Baltierrez slides into the plate before the throw makes it to Estancia catcher Ryan Harrison during Tuesday's game. Baltierrez was 2 for 2 with two RBI.

Sonora breezes past Estancia

STAFF WRITER

Sonora lost six of its final seven regular-season games.

That’s not the way to build momentum going into the playoffs.

Sonora on Tuesday looked like a team that’s been a roll. The Raiders breezed to an 8-0 win over Estancia in a CIF-Southern Section Division 4 wild-card baseball game.

Sonora (16-15) will play Kaiser of Fontana (23-3) in the first round Thursday. It will be a home game for Sunkist League champion Kaiser, which is seeded No. 2 in the division.

The Raiders, who finished third in the six-team Freeway League, scored three runs in the second inning, four in the third and one in the sixth. They were assisted by four Estancia errors.

Estancia (17-13) took third place in the Orange Coast League by winning four of its final six league games.

Sonora junior catcher Jacob Baltierrez was 2 for 2 with two RBI and two runs. Junior shortstop Dylan Villalobos and senior first baseman Max Wilkenson drove in two runs apiece. All eight Sonora hits were singles.

Raiders senior right-hander Matt Schmidt pitched a complete game. He allowed no walks and six hits.

He liked having a 7-0 lead after three innings.

“It was great,” Schmidt said. “You can relax out there and let your guys make plays.”

Sonora, which has qualified for the playoffs for 18 consecutive years, was error-free. Villalobos and junior second baseman Steven Perez turned inning-ending double plays in the second and third innings.

Schmidt said he is confident the Raiders can make a run in the playoffs.

“We know we’re good,” he said, “because of the Anaheim Lions Tournament.”

Sonora won the 80-team Lions tournament in late March. The Raiders then won six league games in a row before being swept in two-game league series in back-to-back weeks by Troy and Fullerton. They ended that league skid in the final week of the regular season with a win over Buena Park, but followed that with a loss to Buena Park in the last regular-season game.

“I told our guys they’ve got to be solid at all aspects of the game,” Raiders coach Pat Tellers said. “Defense has to be solid, you have to execute when you’re at the plate, and you’ve got to make good pitches. I think we were solid in all three areas today.”

The playoffs continue with wild-card games today in Divisions 1, 3, 5 and 7. First-round games are Thursday in Divisions 2, 4, and 6. First-round games are Friday in Divisions 1, 3, 5 and 7.

Also in Division 4:

Century 1, Malibu 0: Cristian Lopez pitched a two-hitter to lead the host Centurions (19-8). Lopez (10-2), a senior, had seven strikeouts and no walks. Century will take on Freeway League champion Troy in a first-round game Thursday.

Contact the writer: sfryer@ocregister.com


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