SPOKANE — After dropping two of its first three games in postseason play, Othello still had a chance to qualify for the State tournament if the Huskies got past West Valley in the Glue Crossover game May 12 in Spokane.
But the task proved to be too tall of an order to fill and the Eagles advanced to the big dance with the 8-1 win.
Othello struck first on a two-out RBI double to center by AJ Pruneda in the top of the first inning, scoring Nathan Garza from second base. The 1-0 score held up through three and a half innings. West Valley tied it in the bottom of the fourth, and then added three more runs in the inning to go up top 4-1. The Eagles hung two on the board in the fifth and sixth innings to win going away and bounce Othello out of the playoffs.
Despite the earlier than desired exit, coach Sonny Garza said the Huskies had a good overall season.
“We lost a couple games down the stretch of the season that could have given us some momentum going into the playoffs. We did get a huge win against East Valley to get into the district games, but just couldn’t gain any momentum in the next two games (Selah and Ephrata),” Garza said. “The loss at West Valley in Spokane started off great in the first then, we lost steam and couldn’t string any hits together to capitalize when we had runners on base.”
Othello will be filling some voids next season due to graduation, but will field an experienced savvy team that should contend in 2019.
“We will be losing Camron Valdez one of our middle infielders, AJ Pruneda who has been one of our stronger hitters, James Calzadillas who saw some time at third base toward the end of the season once he got cleared from his shoulder injury, and his brother Josh Calzadillas who was a great pitcher for us all year,” Garza said. “We will have Jay Rodriguez, Gage Pruneda, Jaxon Rocha and Jonathan Garza II coming back. Jonathan will provide several innings on the mound for us as he has been the last three years. Jay has been a top hitter for us so we will hopefully be having him lead the top of our lineup again. Gage will be providing some innings in relief and roaming the outfield. Jaxon has been a strong leader for us and has patrolled the outfield now for two years in centerfield.”
Also returning are Trey and Joshua Garza who coach Garza said should add power to line up after another year of varsity experience under their belt, and Nathan Garza Jr. who is expected to see a lot of time up the middle.
“Nathan should be a solid infielder for us next season and getting on base quite a bit for us as well utilizing his speed,” Garza said. “We will be thin at pitching, however, but I’m hoping over the summer we can have some players get some good work in so they can contribute and help Jon II on the mound.”