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Maria Carrillo’s baseball team began North Bay League play on Wednesday and the Pumas looked like title contenders as they defeated host Santa Rosa, 10-2.

The most impressive performances of the afternoon were turned in by Andrew Vaughn and Vince Riggio.

Vaughn came on in relief and struck out seven of the eight batters he faced while third baseman Riggio knocked in four runs.

“It’s good to start off league with a win and it was also nice to get the offense going,” coach Derek DeBenedetti said. “This was a break-out game for us.”

Carrillo began the contest with a 1-2 record. Its highest run total had been four in a victory last Tuesday against Petaluma.

“The difference is that we came out aggressive at the plate against Santa Rosa and our confidence grew as the game progressed,” DeBenedetti added.

After falling behind 2-1, the Pumas tied the game in the fourth and scored three runs in the fifth and five in the sixth. Grant Hermone had the big hit in the sixth, a bases-loaded single.

Carrillo banged out 10 hits and the defense didn’t make an error. Four pitchers held Santa Rosa to three hits and the Panthers committed two miscues.

The Pumas tied for second behind Casa Grande for the league title last year and the Gauchos figure to contend again this season.

“Casa looks like the team to beat although I wouldn’t look past Ukiah,” DeBenedetti said.

“We also expect to be right up there.”

The Pumas are 2-2 overall while Santa Rosa is 4-2 and 0-1 in league.

In other Wednesday games:

RANCHO COTATE 12, CARDINAL NEWMAN 4

At Cardinal Newman, the Cougars picked up their first win of the year in their first league game.

The teams combined for 12 errors with Cardinal Newman fielders responsible for seven of those.

Rancho started quickly and had a 7-0 lead heading to the bottom of the third.

It was the fifth consecutive loss for the Cardinals.

“We’re not doing anything well,” coach TJ McMahon said. “The fielding hasn’t been good and neither has the hitting or pitching. We’re much better than our 2-5 start.”

Rancho has been averaging four errors a game and coach John Morrow said the Cougars will have to field better or it’s going to be a long season.

“We’re young but we have a lot of talent,” he said. “Our pitching should be solid.”

Jayman Graveman was the pitching and hitting star against Cardinal Newman. He hurled the first four innings before getting relief help from sophomore Jared Zang.

At the plate, Graveman had a pair of hits as did Oscar Urbina.

For the Cardinals, Jake Hernandez and Beau Barrington contributed two hits apiece.

HEALDSBURG 5, FORT BRAGG 2

At Healdsburg, the Greyhounds scored three in the first inning and that was all the runs winning pitcher Evan McPherson needed.

Bryant Herrguth and Cody Newman knocked in first-inning runs and the other run came home on a bases-loaded walk.

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