Confident DP pays no alimony to Alemany

Dos Pueblos’ baseball team has developed some serious swagger — possibly even cockiness — over the past few weeks.

The good thing for the Chargers is that they’re backing it up.

DP was clearly the better team in its playoff opener Thursday, dispatching visiting Alemany 7-2 to advance to Tuesday’s second round of the CIF Division II bracket.

“Everybody on this coaching staff, on this team and even these fans truly thinks that the only way we’re going to lose is if we beat ourselves. As long as we play DP baseball we can compete with anybody,” said first-year coach Nate Mendoza.

So what is DP baseball?

Lately, it’s consisted of either Tyler McGaughey or Bradley Tirador eating up innings in every start, not racking up the strikeouts but forcing ground balls and pop-ups which are gobbled up by a hungry defense. Throw in a couple of big hits and some runs in the early innings, and you’ve got yourself a league title and a 5-game winning streak heading into the second round.

McGaughey was a workhorse once again, pitching five shutout innings of two-hit ball before handing over a 6-0 lead to Ryan Ventura.

Ventura finished things up on the hill, but it was his day at the plate that made the biggest difference. The big senior drove in four runs on two doubles and a fourth-inning homer that likely hit the pavement on Cathedral Oaks.

“It’s CIF, so you’ve just gotta pick it up a notch, ya’ know?” said Ventura.

Johnny Corazza’s bat was wide awake too. The sophomore lefty gives up over 50 pounds to Ventura, but his cannon blast in the second inning jumped off the bat like King Kong had hit it.

“Mine sounded like I was hitting with wood, so I liked Johnny’s more — especially because it was his first of the season,” said Ventura.

Alemany (16-12) remained scoreless until Ventura gave up a two-run shot to Ryan Molique in the sixth. McGaughey struck out three and hit three batters in his five innings of work, but the zero in the run column that was all he cared about.

“I didn’t want any runs to score today. I wanna show that we’re in this for the long haul,” he said.

He wiggled his way out of a very tight spot in the fourth, as the bases were loaded with two outs and a 3-0 count against Alemany’s Christian Tobias. McGaughey got two quick strikes before a fouled-off fastball, then dropped in a curveball that crossed-up Tobias and led to a check-swing strikeout.

“Our pitching coach looked at Tyler and said ‘Can you throw this for a strike?’, meaning curveball, because you could tell the batter wasn’t looking for it. Tyler threw it and that was really gutsy,” said Mendoza.

The senior hurler, who praised the team’s group of sophomores, isn’t short on confidence at this point.

“Get me on a good day with any pitcher and I think I can hang with him. I don’t care if he throws 90, because he needs to get outs just like me. I don’t care about strikeouts,” said McGaughey.

Ventura, whose curveball drops like a pair of cement shoes, was solid despite the homer, striking out three over the final two innings.

While the seven runs were more than enough, it could have been a lot more as DP left 10 runners stranded in the game.

Up next for DP (16-11) is a Tuesday matchup with Damien, with the location to be announced Friday morning. The Spartans upset No. 2 Palos Verdes 4-1 on Thursday. The Chargers have not made it past the second round since 1993.

DOS PUEBLOS 7, ALEMANY 2

Alemany…000 002 0 — 2 4 3

Dos Pueblos…121 201 X — 7 9 0

Thompson, Sulfow (4) and Esparza; McGaughey, Ventura (6) and Richardson.

2B — DP: Ventura (2), Corazza. HR — A: Molique (6th inn., one on), DP: Corazza (2nd inn., one on), Ventura (4th inn., one on).

Team records — A 16-12, DP 16-11.

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