Bloomington Bruins head to playoffs for first time since 2016

Photo Carlos Contreras: The final out created a frenzy of excitement for the Bruins as they finished off another comeback win. Seven of their nine wins have been comebacks when trailing from the 6th inning or later.

By Carlos Contreras

Bruin’s Senior starting pitcher Isaac Martinez pitched another gem staying under the mandatory pitch count in 8 innings of work to earn the win. He was helped along the way defensively by his Bruin teammates who made the big plays when they needed to. Senior center fielder Edward Rengifo and Sophomore left fielder Robert Barrera both ran down two balls that were smashed over their heads. The self-proclaimed “No Fly Zone” Bruin outfield of Freshmen Andrew Tejada and Dylan Buzard, Rengifo, and Barrera have been spectacular this year saving would-be extra bases by running down anything in the air.

The scoring started when the Titans pushed across two runs in the bottom half of the third when Titans Senior catcher Matthew Chavez tripled to the right center gap scoring sophomore Aaron Zapata. Chavez then scored on a wild pitch giving the Titans a 2-0 lead that would hold until the 6th inning.

Robert Barrera 34 congratulates David Trujillo 22 as he scores a run.

Titans Senior Lefty Ace Gabriel Alvarado was moving along well dominating the Bruins bats scattering 4 hits and striking out 7 through the end of the fifth inning. Bruin Freshman David Trujillo led off the 6th inning getting hit by a pitch and advanced to second base on a ground ball out. Freshman right fielder Dylan Buzard scored Trujillo with a base hit to the right side and later scored on Junior second baseman Isaac Chavez base hit to centerfield. Knotted up at two points apiece gave this game the playoff atmosphere the Bruins expected and planned for.

Alvarado quietly kept the Bruins at bay in the 7th retiring three in a row giving the Titans a chance to walk it off at home on senior night. The home half of the frame started with an Alvarado single and stolen base. Titans had the winning run at second with no outs. But Bruins pitcher Martinez, who early in the 6th was asked how he felt by the Bruins coaching staff, emphatically yelled back, “I am a great coach!” Battled thru the adversity by inducing the next two Titan batters to pop up to the Bruin infield for two non-damaging outs. The Bruins then elected to intentionally walk Titans three-hitter Chavez and faced Senior first baseman Jerry Granado. Martinez induced Granado to pop out to Bruin third baseman Alexis Velasco to end the inning and shift the momentum back to the Bruins.

The top half of the 8th inning unraveled quickly for the Titans. Velasco was hit by pitch, Buzard and Barrera singled to load the bases. Rengifo then singled giving the Bruins a one-run lead. Chavez was hit by pitch adding another run. Martinez then helped his own cause by squeezing home pinch-runner Justin Castro. Junior Catcher Leo Varela ended the scoring by also squeezing home Rengifo. The Bruins now took the 6-2 lead into the bottom of the 8th with Martinez still on the mound.

Martinez ended the game three pitches short of the CIF max, earning his 5th league win by getting a foul pop up to first baseman Trujillo.

The final out created a frenzy of excitement for the Bruins as they finished off another comeback win. Seven of their nine wins have been comebacks when trailing from the 6th inning or later, they have three walk-off home wins and have two extra-inning wins this season.

As the Bruins head into the playoffs, they have been led offensively by Fr Buzard .500 batting average, 16 RBI, 1 home run; jr Velasco .500-12-2, So Barrera .408-16 runs scored and Fr Trujillo .372-12 runs scored. Martinez has been outstanding on the mound with a 5-1 record and 2.49 ERA.

Go to Max Preps for updated playoff game information.