BARSTOW • If Daron Banks isn't willing to say it, Ernie Salgado is.

After Barstow complete a season sweep against the Silverado High School softball team with a 10-9 win Friday afternoon at Barstow High School, the Silverado coach declared the Aztecs were likely the best team in the Desert Sky League.

"I actually think ... they might not know ... but I think this is the best team in the league," Salgado said, "I think they can beat anybody. They just don't know it yet."

Although Banks, the Barstow coach, wouldn't go that far, he said Friday's game represented one of the Aztecs (8-6; 5-2 DSL) best days at the plate.

"I don't like to make predictions, but we'll wait and see what happens," Banks said. "I think we'll go beyond what people originally thought."

The Aztecs controlled most of the game and built up a 10-1 lead after the fifth inning. The entire lineup hit well off the Hawks' pitching. Aztecs had five players with two hits. Erica Carrion went 2-for-3, Cayla Schreiner was 2-for-3, Alyssa Maldonado was 2-for-4 and Keona Duran was 2-for-4 with a home run.

"Today was probably our best game if not one of our best games," Banks said. "Almost everybody drove the ball. They sat back. They waited."

Silverado (2-16; 2-6 DSL) made a comeback in the final two innings. The Aztecs were a run away from ending the game due to the mercy rule with two runners on and two outs in the fifth inning.

Silverado got out of the jam and extended the game. The Hawks were just on the verge of breaking out. The Hawks kept the bases loaded for most of the sixth inning. Julie Ortiz gave the Hawks their biggest boost with a shot into the center field that rolled of an Aztecs outfielders glove and allowed Ortiz to clear the bases, bring in four runs and draw the score to 10-8.

By that point the Aztecs were frustrated by a shrinking strike zone that force Barstow pitcher Hannah Ulibarri to pitch right down the center almost every time.

"It was a little tough with the umpire today," Banks said. "First of all, he wasn't consistent, and then his strike zone tightened up to almost nothing.

"It was obvious by the end of the game, they weren't going to swing at anything. They were going to sit and wait until they either walked or Hannah went straight at them."

Desiri Napoli cut Barstow's lead down to one with a lead off home run to start the seventh inning. Gabby Jones represented the tying run and got one base with a hit to shallow left field. Barstow was finally able to stop the Hawks rally there.

Granite Hills update
The Aztecs will have to restart their April 10th game against Granite Hills, according to CIF-Southern Section. Barstow was leading 13-4 in the bottom of the third when the game was  suspended by the umpires due to rain.

CIF-SS said the umpires were wrong in calling the game suspended and it will need to be started from the beginning. The teams will likely add another game onto their two-game series during the last week of the season.

Silverado      100 007 1 — 9 8 2
Barstow        024 310 0 — 10 13 2

C. Lara, Bracamonotez (6) and Napoli; Ulibarri and Schreiner. WP — Ulibarri. LP — Lara. 2B — 2 Ulivarri, Maldonado (B). HR — Napoli (S), Duran (B).

Contact the writer:
(760) 256-4124 or
mpeters@desertdispatch.com