By virtue of five straight wins to close out the regular season, Cañada baseball secured a playoff berth with a single-elimination play-in game Tuesday.
Cañada will host Los Medanos of the Bay Valley league Tuesday at 2 p.m.
“If we didn’t win out we’re not playing [Tuesday],” Colts manager Tony Lucca said. “Obviously we were in a tight race.”
The Colts (17-7 in Coast Pacific Conference, 24-12 overall) finished in second place in the Coast Pacific, one game behind conference champion Cabrillo. After missing the playoffs last season, Cañada now has an opportunity to advance to best-of-three regional play opening Friday.
“We’re excited for the opportunity, I guess,” Lucca said. “I feel like we deserve a better seeding … but I respect the process and we’ll settle it on the field.”
Lucca describes the regular season as being a crazy one for the Colts. They have shuffled and reshuffled their infield to find a healthy and winning combination. At the outset of the season, Cañada lost its regular shortstop when he quit the team. Then his replacement Rico Caravalho was lost for the year to a broken ankle.
That’s when the real carousel began.
After beginning the season as the Colts regular second baseman, sophomore Kyle Zirbes originally replaced Caravalho. But Zirbes was shuffled to third base for a time with Dylan Cook manning shortstop. In recent weeks though, Cook shifted to the outfield with Zirbes moving back to short.
Zirbes has been the Colts’ top hitter this season, batting a team-best .339 and has 26 stolen bases in 28 chances.
And even with the pressure of an elimination game Tuesday, Zirbes remains upbeat about the chance to stay in the swing of things.
“We don’t have to a whole week off before we get to play a game,” Zirbes said. “We’re right back in the thick of things. Everybody stays fresh. We don’t lose our timing. It’s almost like we’re still n the regular season. It’s a Tuesday game. It keeps our baseball minds fresh.”