The chance to win a Valley title certainly doesn’t happen every year, and unfortunately for Clovis West they ran into a buzzsaw of a pitcher at the wrong time in their quest for its second title in school history.
Stockdale senior and UCLA commit Sean Mullen stymied Clovis West for 5 ⅓ no-hit innings, baffling the Golden Eagles with a low 90s fastball and knee buckling curves, striking out 12 over six and propelling the Mustangs to a 6-0 win to capture the Central Section Division I championship at Rawhide Stadium in Visalia.
Clovis West, the No. 1 seed, was doomed in the first after Stockdale scored four runs — all with two outs — off senior Kohl Simas.
The Mustangs loaded the bases with the help of the high sky at dusk at tricky Rawhide Stadium when right fielder Dusty Schramm lost a fly ball that landed for a double.
After Alejandro Murillo singled up the middle on a full count plating the first two runs, Stockdale capitalized on a wild pitch and an infield throwing error to make the score 4-0 before Clovis West had come to bat.
From then on it was all Mullen.
“It’s tough to come back from a deficit like that against a quality arm like Mullen,” Clovis West coach Kevin Patrick said. “He threw his breaking pitch for strikes and when he has both of them going he’s tough to beat. He showed that tonight.”
The lone bright spot for Clovis West (25-8) was Schramm, as the senior came in to relieve Simas with no outs in the second inning down 5-0.
Schramm, a standout linebacker and University of Utah baseball signee, threw the final six innings and struck out seven, allowing only one run on three hits.
“We were hoping to get three or four innings from Kohl and then go to Dusty and it didn’t work out,” Patrick said. “But Dusty came in and threw the ball great tonight, I’m proud of both of those guys, they’ve been great for us all year and we are definitely going to miss them.”
Simas, clearly not a hundred perfect after tweaking his knee during Monday’s practice, came into the game with an 8-2 record and a 1.72 ERA.
Stockdale, the No. 2 seed and Southwest Yosemite League champs at 15-2, won their first Valley title since 2009 when they beat Clovis West 6-2.
The Golden Eagles were seeking its first Valley title since 2004, coached then by Tim Thiessen who won four Valley titles with Immanuel (1993, 95), Bullard (1999) and Clovis West (2004).
“Never in a million years did I think we’d get a one-hit shutout against Clovis West,” Stockdale coach Brad Showers. “We knew they were a good team and we hoped we could play up to our capability. Sean Mullen was dominant tonight.”
Mullen came into the game 8-1 with a 1.30 ERA and 72 strikeouts in 53 ⅓ innings.
Clovis West senior Nick Castro broke up Mullen’s no-hitter with a clean single to left in the sixth inning.
“I’m very proud of them, they won 25 games this year and a TRAC championship,” Patrick added. “More than anything they are good character guys and they made coming to practice fun every day.”