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Wilcox Baseball Battles Adversity Until the Bitter End 

The Wilcox Chargers battled through injuries, but lost to the Pioneer Mustangs 3-1 in the opening round of the CCS Division III playoffs.

Despite having to overcome numerous obstacles this season, the Wilcox varsity baseball squad managed to qualify for a spot in the CCS Division III playoffs. The Chargers even earned a home game in Saturday’s postseason opener.

Now both a 16-11 overall record and an 8-6 mark in league play may not jump off the page compared to years past for Wilcox, but one could argue it was some of Matt Huth’s best work as head coach since taking over the role going into the 2020 season. 

The Chargers’ overall numbers were down in the program this season and the varsity squad featured only four seniors on the 18-player roster. Wilcox had just as many freshmen as they had seniors on the roster come season’s end.  

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Despite the relative inexperience and injuries depleting both their pitching staff and lineup throughout the season, Wilcox still managed to finish tied for fourth in the ultra-competitive De Anza League. That never-give-in attitude allowed the Chargers an opportunity this past Saturday in the postseason where, ultimately, the team came up just short against the Pioneer Mustangs. 

Wilcox received seven strong innings on the mound from junior pitcher RJ Argel. More often seen at shortstop, Argel has had a knack for getting out of trouble when on the mound. He did so beautifully again on Saturday. The softer throwing right-hander went toe-to-toe with Pioneer’s DI commit on the other side.

Argel held his own in a pitcher’s duel. Pioneer got on the board with an unearned run in the second, and then did not score again until a controversial play at the plate in the fifth. The entire Wilcox cheering section erupted immediately calling for an out call. Unfortunately for those Chargers supporters, the umpire ruled the runner safe. 

“I had the ball in my hands and he slid into me and the ball fell out and then he stood there,” remarked Chargers catcher Isaiah Mendoza. “I then grabbed the ball and tagged him before he even touched the plate.” 

As it had done all season long, though, Wilcox managed to bounce back despite its misfortune to start the CCS Division III playoffs. 

In the bottom of the fifth, the Chargers got on the board to cut the deficit back to one. Mateo Escobedo reached with a one-out single and would later score on a two-out RBI single from Matthew Tiendas. 

The game would head into the bottom of the sixth still with the score 2-1. In the final two innings of offense, the Chargers would get a runner to second base with nobody out each time but would be unable to score in either frame.

The Mustangs added an insurance run in the top of the seventh and that would be all she wrote. Mustangs won 3-1. 

“We had a lot of injuries, a lot of hurt arms, but we compete as a family,” remarked Argel after the game. “That family factor played into us being able to compete today.” 

“We had 29 kids in our program, with injuries and stuff, probably only had like 25 kids playing at a time, and we lost our first five games of the season,” noted Huth. “To turn it around and win eight straight, I think we overachieved for what we had based on our talent level. Coming in fourth place, battle and compete being so young, I couldn’t be more proud of this group and super excited for what we have coming back next year.” 

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