Buchanan Baseball loses thriller in Championship tournament

Buchanan Baseball lost 4-3 to Centennial High on Saturday night. This will be the first time in four seasons that Buchanan will not be Central Section Champions. (Photo courtesy of CUSD)

May 30, 2023 – At Valley Strong Ballpark, home of the Visalia Rawhide, Clovis’ TRAC Champions and Central Section Division I #2 ranked team the Buchanan Bears faced off as the home team against visitor #9 ranked Centennial High School from Bakersfield.

On the backdrop of the Division I Central Section Championship, Buchanan looked to continue their dominance in the CIF Central Section as they had been champions for three years running.

However, despite a 3-1 lead in the top of the seventh for the Bears, this would not come to pass.

With strong starting pitching from both dugouts, scattered runs were scored across a few errors from both teams, but Buchanan would take a 2-1 lead in the third off of a Tyler O’Toole double.

The score would remain here until the 5th when Peyton Barsotti cashed in Buchanan’s third and final RBI of the game with a double of his own.

Headed into the top of the seventh, Buchanan reached two outs relatively quickly, but as all baseball fans know, it’s the final out of the inning that matters the most.

With a two out walk to bring the go-ahead run to the plate, head coach Brad Fontes walked out to the mound but decided to stick with his starting pitcher Colton O’Toole to try and get the last out.

To his credit, O’Toole had been pitching an outstanding 1-run game up until that point.

Falling behind 3-1 in the count to the potential last out and the ever so close 4th consecutive Central Section Championship for Buchanan, Tristan Watson of Centennial hit a drive over the left field fence for a three-run homerun to snatch the lead from the jaws of defeat.

This was the first time that Centennial had led for the entire game.

Still with a chance to tie or win in the bottom of the seventh, Buchanan’s J.P. Acosta led off with a walk.

However, the next three batters would go down in order, giving Centennial the victory and the title as CIF Division I Central Section Champions for 2023.

Buchanan was invited to play in the Division I State Tournament and will travel to De La Salle on Tuesday May 30th to play as the 7th seed.

Their journey up to this point had them winning against Arroyo Grande, Righetti and the Stockdale Mustangs before losing in the CIF Central Section Championship.

Clovis High and Clovis West also participated in the Central Section Championship tournament with #5 Clovis losing to #12 ranked El Diamante in the first round.

Clovis West, ranked 14th, lost to Stockdale in the first round as well.

JT is a recent college grad with a Bachelor of Arts in Communication. He is mainly interested in sports and entertainment but covers a wide array of subjects. He currently writes for the Fresno State Baseball Dugout Club. JT looks forward to continuing his career at the Clovis Roundup and is excited to be working closely with a community that is very proud of its people.