But the Jays had their eyes fixed squarely on Modesto's Sinaloa Padres (2-15), who became their latest victims in the Mexican-American Baseball League's postseason race.
The Jays jumped out to a huge early lead Sunday, Aug. 28, coasting to a 15-0 victory at Patterson High in a game shortened to five innings by the league's 15-run mercy rule.
“We were definitely prepared to handle our business (against the Padres),” Patterson player-coach Bubba Marroquin said. “We didn’t want to overlook anyone — we had to get this win.”
Sunday’s game served as a confidence-building tune-up, with the Jays scoring in four of their five turns at bat and banging out nine hits, Marroquin said.
Five Patterson starters had at least one hit, led by Zach Wheeland's 4-for-4 outing, which included four RBIs and one run scored. Teammate Brett Wheeland went 2-for-2 at the plate, scoring three times.
Pitchers Kevin Durham and Tyler Bettencourt teamed up for the one-hit shutout.
The right-handed Durham (6-3) pitched the three first innings, surrendering the Padres’ only hit of the game. But he struck out four batters in his three innings of work and walked only one.
Bettencourt allowed no hits and fanned two in the final two frames to finish the game.
The Jays’ record stands at 11-6, leaving them tied for the league’s final wild-card playoff berth with Merced's El Nido Hornets (11-6) and the Livingston Koras (11-6).
In a tie-breaker scenario, the Hornets would have the advantage over the Koras, who they bested 8-3 on Aug. 14.
But the Koras maintain an edge over the Jays, following a 5-2 victory over Patterson on May 22.
The Jays would earn the postseason nod over the Hornets, however, since Patterson won their regular-season tilt, 12-1, on July 10.
The top two teams from each of the league’s three divisions, plus two wild-card teams with the remaining best records in the league, will qualify for this month’s playoffs.
“All we can do is take care of what we can take care of — we have to take it one opponent at a time,” Marroquin said. “Winning that final game is what we’re focused on.
“The rest of it will fall into place on its own.”
The Jays will conclude their regular season at 10 a.m. Sunday, Sept. 4, when they host the Hilmar Indians (12-5).