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CalHi Sports ranks baseball 7th in Division 5

Excitement was in the air, coursing through the crowd like an electric shock as the campus team battled Fowler on April 19. As Casey Belmont, ’02, came up to bat, the potential win and undefeated season was riding on his shoulders. The score was tied 1-1, and the game was well into overtime.

“Even though it was a tense situation when Casey came up to bat in the 11th (inning), I had complete confidence in him,” varsity baseball coach Jon Hall said. “I knew that he would come through for us, especially since he has been hitting very well lately.”

Despite the stressful situation, Belmont came through for his team with a hard hit to the outfield that brought in the two winning runs for FC. The varsity baseball team remains undefeated in the West Sierra League, with a record of 11-0 and an overall record of 18-3.

“I think one of the reasons our team has been so successful this year is the fact that we have been playing as a team; we have good chemistry,” coach Hall said. “Also, the guys have been really taking this season seriously, and this has translated into good character.”

Belmont has been one of the most outstanding players on the team, providing senior leadership and excellent play at his position of shortstop. He is also batting a team-leading .588 average.

“Casey has really been stepping up as a team leader,” coach Hall said. “He’s been performing well in all aspects of his game. Casey is our best defensive player, and he is finally finding his groove at the plate.”

Belmont has a love of baseball that dates back to his childhood, and his long history of involvement in the game helps him in his competition today. The current season has been particularly enjoyable for Belmont.

“I really love being on this year’s team,” Belmont said. “The team has been working really hard, and this year we have a great group of really talented guys. I think we definitely have the potential to go very far in the playoffs, hopefully to the Valley Championships.”

With wins against Caruthers (9-3 on April 23), Laton (6-2 on April 26) and Riverdale (13-0 on April 30), FC baseball is poised to enter the playoffs with either a first or second seed.

“Anything can happen at the seeding meeting at the end of the season,” coach Hall said but we should end up with the number one or two seed as we beat the defending Valley Champion, Fowler, twice in league play. But regardless of the seeding, there are six strong teams in the Sierra League who all have the ability to win it all.”

With league play drawing to a close on May 10 in a home game against Firebaugh, the team is starting to look forward to post-season play.

“If we keep on playing the way we have been we should get the 1st or 2nd seed in the playoffs,” coach Hall said. “I expect us to play for the Valley Championships, probably against Immanuel. In order to be successful in the post-season, we need to continue our solid defense, but we’ll need to start hitting the ball a little better.”

After the team defeated Laton, CalHi Sports ranked FC baseball seventh in California in Division 5. And after C.V.C. defeated Immanuel, 4-0, on April 30, FC appears to be in a position to challenge the rival Eagles from Reedley in the Sierra League playoffs. Immanuel is still ranked first in the state as per the April 30 rankings.

“I was a little surprised when I heard about Immanuel’s loss,” coach Hall said. “It just goes to show that we will have to be at our best, game in and game out.”

For more information on high school baseball in California, go to calhiports.theinsiders.com.

The team next plays at Tranquility on May 2 and hosts Mendota on May 7 at 4 p.m.” “Tim Wilkins” “Baseball continues its torid pace through the West Sierra League compiling an 11-0 record. Fowler came nearest to defeating the Eagles but fell short as Casey Belmont, ?02, hit an 11th inning double to score two runners to defeat the RedCats, 3-1, on April 19. Jon Steele, ?03, pitcher, has been instrumental not only on the mound but with his bat as well. Sam Fisher, ?03, looks on from second base. ” “” “” “CalHi Sports

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