If you’re a fan of Casa Grande there are a lot of bright sides, even though its 21 game winning streak has come to an end.
One is obvious; they are still NBL Baseball Champions for 2013. The other would be that this game didn’t happen next week during the NBL post season tournament or the following week when the Section playoffs begin.
Casa Grande met a Cardinal Newman team who is facing a big week to make the NBL post season tournament. They took a huge step in that direction and may even be in with a 4-2 win.
The inning that turned out to cost Casa Grande its undefeated league season was the 4th when Cardinal Newman scored three run. That equals the most runs that Casa Grande has given up in any league game.
Almost everything you can think of happened in the inning. Two runs scored on passed balls, the other on a suicide squeeze. There was also a balk and a hit batsman.
Ridge Etchell started things with a one out four pitch walk, was balked to second, went to third on an Erik Owenson single and scored on a passed ball.
After all of that and a single by George Foster, Owenson scored on a successful suicide squeeze by Jake Popoff. Popoff was thrown out at first for the second out, but Cardinal Newman had a 2-1 lead.
That was only part of an unlike Casa Grande type of inning. A walk, a hits batsmen and another passed ball scored run number three and that turned out to be enough.
After the two teams traded runs in the bottom of the fifth and top of the sixth, Casa Grande had chances late. They had runners at first and second with one out in the sixth and with two outs in the seventh, but couldn’t come up with the big hit.
Etchell pitched the first four innings to get the win. Zak Faber and Corey Hammell then avoided the threats the rest of the way. Hammell came into get the last out, but not before adding to the suspense. The count went to 3-2 before getting Iggy Llorence to fly to center to end the game.
Casa Grande will host a round one game of the NBL post season tournament. Who they will meet is still up in the air. It appears it could be No. 3 Maria Carrillo, Montgomery or Rancho Cotate.
All this is trying to read the tie-breakers, but it appears Cardinal Newman has qualified for the Post Season Tournament. They could be a No. 2 or 3 seed. They are tied with Maria Carrillo for second. That is who they host on Friday with the winner finishing in second place. Even if Cardinal Newman losses and Montgomery and Rancho Cotate win, which would create a three way tie for the final two spots, Cardinal Newman appears to have the tie-breaker edge because they drew the lowest number.
Maria Carrillo isn’t in the same shape. They drew a higher number than both Montgomery and Rancho Cotate so if they end in a three way tie, it appears they would miss.
Maria Carrillo defeated Montgomery 1-0. The only information in that game is the only run Maria Carrillo scored was in the fourth and they only had one hit.
Rancho Cotate pulled into a tie with Montgomery with a 9-1 win over Santa Rosa.
So Casa Grande will host one game, the winner of the Maria Carrillo-Cardinal Newman will host the other. The rest will be decided on Friday.
The other two contenders have Montgomery hosting Casa Grande and Rancho Cotate travels to Windsor.
Both the NBL and SCL softball races can be wrapped up today (Thursday).
No. 1 Petaluma faces a bigger game than No. 2 Maria Carrillo does.
Petaluma meets the only team that can steal the SCL title from them when they host No. 5 Analy. The difference is one game and that one game was the first meeting, which Petaluma won 10-0. That is Analy’s only league loss and if you take away that game, they have been almost as dominate in SCL play as Petaluma has.
Petaluma goes into the game with a twenty game streak. Maybe Analy can take some confidence that this will be the week that will be remembered for the snapping to 20+ game winning streaks.
The reason isn’t as big for Maria Carrillo is even if things don’t work out they have one more day. They host Montgomery and even if what would be the upset of the year happens, they could still win it with a win at Cardinal Newman next Tuesday.
Maria Carrillo may not even have to win to wrap things up. If No. 4 Rancho Cotate loses either one of its final two games, Maria Carrillo is champions. Rancho Cotate host Santa Rosa on Thursday.
Of course winning games is also important for the seedings of the upcoming NCS playoffs. In the power rankings Maria Carrillo is No. 3 in Division 2.
By the way, despite the Saturday Petaluma 2-1 win over Alhambra it didn’t change the Division 2 power ratings. Alhambra is still No. 1 and Petaluma is No. 2. So Petaluma can’t give the NCS committee any reason to take the No. 1 seed away.
This is a playoff weekend for SRJC and Sonoma State.
The Sonoma State baseball team kicks it off by opening the double elimination CCAA post season tournament on Thursday. They are the No. 4 seed in this tournament and No. 23 in the country. They meet the regular season champion and No. 1 Cal State Monterey Bay who are No. 7 in the country.
When the four teams met in early April, Monterey Bay swept a four game series.
Both teams come into this tournament on a roll. Cal State Monterey has won 13 of 14 to finish 29-11 and won the league title by one game. Sonoma State won ten of eleven before losing three of four last week to end 32-18.
After the CCAA post season tournament it is the NCAA Regionals. Sonoma State looks like a good shot to make that, but every win helps.
The game is the first one of the tournament and starts at 3 pm. The second game is between No. 2 Cal State LA and No. 3 Chico State which starts at 7 pm.
The tournament is being played in Stockton and goes through Sunday.
SSU’s Glenn Wallace was named CCAA pitcher of the year. Wallace went 8-1 and had a save with an ERA of 0.86 which is the lowest in Division II.
Then on Friday the SRJC baseball team and SSU softball get their playoffs going.
SRJC as the No. 1 seed hosts one of the four superregionals throughout the state. There first game is Friday at 11 AM against Solano at the JC.
Meanwhile the Sonoma State Softball team is one week ahead of the baseball team. They had the league tournament last week and this week the NCAA Division II regionals. They are a No. 3 seed and open up against Cal State Dominguez Hills at noon. The games are at Dixie State University in St. George, Utah.
All the tournaments are double elimination.
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