Chester’s Hunter Morris dives for the catch at the Division V championship game in Chico on May 18. Photo by Kathy Morris
There must be something in the water at Chester High, because the school produced some phenomenal athletes this year. Last Saturday, the Volcanoes’ baseball team competed in the Northern Section Division V championship game in Chico.
The game was a hat-trick of sorts for the Volcanoes, who also made it to their division’s football and basketball championships. In addition, Chester was seeded No. 1 in all three sports and hosted all its playoff games. This was the first year in Chester High history this has happened.
“It’s pretty amazing what these players did,” said Chester’s baseball and football coach, Terry Hernandez. Hernandez is also the school’s athletic director.
The Volcanoes took down Burney 8-6 in the second round of the playoffs May 14 to carry on to the championship game against Maxwell on May 18. Maxwell ended up winning the title with an 8-0 score.
Chester’s loss to Maxwell was due in large part to two missed pop flies that gave Maxwell the break it needed to score some runs. In the first inning, with two outs and no one on base, Chester missed a pop-up, then made two throwing errors. The errors and missed catch resulted in three runs for Maxwell.
“The score doesn’t reflect it, but if we caught those two pop-ups Maxwell wouldn’t have scored five of its runs,” said Hernandez.
Maxwell scored two more runs in the second inning. Maxwell scored one more earned run in the fifth. Finally, in the sixth inning, Chester missed another easy catch that allowed Maxwell to bring two more runners home.
Tim Cronan pitched the first four innings for Chester until Hunter Morris took over in the fifth.
Chester was more on top of its earlier game against Burney. Burney started the game with a run in the first inning, but trailed afterward for the rest of the game.
Chester racked up four runs in the bottom of the first to take a substantial lead. With three more runs in the next two innings, Chester led 7-1 going into the fourth. Slowly but surely Burney started to come back, but was too far behind at that point.
“(Burney) started chipping away at our lead,” said Hernandez. “They got a point here and got a point there, but they were never closer than two runs behind us.”
Chester scored one more run to Burney’s five to win the game. Morris pitched all seven innings and allowed only three earned runs. Morris also led the Volcanoes in hitting, going three-for-four.
There is only one senior on the team, Isaac Thompson. The rest of Chester’s baseball team will return next year for another great seas