The Righetti baseball team’s first playoff game in the CIF Central Section, in 2019, was a success.

It was a success because Ryan Delgado guessed right in the sixth inning.

“I was looking for a high fastball,” Delgado said.

He got it, and Delgado smacked a two-run home run to left off Bakersfield Centennial right-hander Tyler McCurtain. That was the game-winning hit, and No. 4 Righetti held off No. 13 Centennial for a 5-3 win at Righetti in the first round of the Division 1 playoffs.

Delgado’s home run put Righetti ahead 5-2. Delgado relieved Righetti starting pitcher Caleb Dulay late and struck out the first batter in the seventh.

He struck out the next batter too, but the third strike missed outside so badly the batter made it to first base ahead of the throw from catcher Andrew Gonzalez after Gonzalez sprinted to retrieve the ball.

Delgado hit the next batter then got a force at second on a grounder to Tompkins. The Golden Hawks got a run on a wild pitch, but Delgado finally caught Mason Moccardini, the potential tying run, looking at strike three to end it.

Tompkins struck out in the first inning and again in the fourth with a runner on second base and two outs, but he delivered in the fifth. He jumped all over a high fastball and drove in Brandon Giddings from second base to put the Warriors ahead 3-2.

“I had struck out twice, and I was just looking for something to drive,” said Tompkins.

The Golden Hawks went ahead in the fourth, but Dulay kept them to a run after they had the bases loaded and no outs.

“We talk about minimizing, and Caleb kept the damage in the fourth to a minimum,” said Righetti coach Kyle Tognazzini.

“That was big. They were in position to break it open.”

Righetti evened the score for the second time, at 2-2 in the fourth with an unearned run. Gonzales plated Quigley Espinola with a sacrifice fly.

Dulay made a lot of his best pitches when he was in the toughest spots.

After five innings the Golden Hawks had out-hit the Warriors 8-6, yet Righetti was ahead 3-2. Centennial stranded five runners in scoring position against Dulay.

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“The palm ball was working really well for me today,” said Dulay. “That was my main ‘out’ pitch when I was in the toughest spots.”

Jake Steels had two hits for Righetti. Seven other Warriors had one hit.

Righetti won its next playoff game then took a tough 2-1 loss at home to Bakersfield Frontier in the semis. Clovis beat Frontier in the Division 1 championship game.


Sports Reporter

Kenny Cress, sportswriter for the Santa Maria Times since September of 2000. BA in political science from Cal Poly Pomona. BA in journalism from Cal State Northridge.

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