For the Santa Rosa Junior College baseball team, whatever happens next week—and there is a next week, they have made a memory.
On a nice spring Saturday afternoon in nearly six hours there was 20 innings of suspenseful baseball. When it was all said and done, they pulled off the doubleheader sweep they needed and advance to the State Regionals, which they host next week.
Let’s start out with Game One, because without a successful Game One, there wouldn’t be a Game Two.
The suspense level of Game One would be enough for any normal day. Any moment could be the moment to end the dream. It appeared for the longest time that the fifth inning would be looked back on as that moment.
Los Medonas had just taken a 2-1 in the bottom of the fourth. It looked like that the Bear Cubs were going to respond in the fifth, loading the bases with one out. But the frustration continued when they failed to get the tying run.
It looked like another wasted opportunity in the sixth. Brent Gillespie led off the inning with a double and was still at second with two outs. Nico Filice, who is batting .318 on the season, came up with a clutch two out single to tie the game.
Then the suspense really began. SRJC was playing on its home field and had the home whites on, but because of the playoff setup they were the visiting team on the scoreboard. Twice they went on defense knowing that if they gave up a run, they would be coming back to the dugout and not play again this year.
That didn’t come close to happening thanks to the pitching duo of former Cardinal Newman teammates Jason Alexander and JJ Jamerson ,who with the season on the line each pitched a perfect ninth and tenth inning.
For Alexander it ended a start where he retired the last twelve men he faced and struck out eight.
The Bear Cubs weren’t doing better against reliever Logan Overly, who came into the game in the eighth and retired the first nine he faced. That streak ended in the 11th when Anthony Sequeiia led off with a single. Gillespie followed with a walk and the Bear Cubs had its chance. Stephen McElroy moved the runners to second and third with a bunt. Chase Stafford then hit a ground ball back up the middle. Shortstop Ryan Lacy came home on a play that looked like it was going to be close, but the ball got away and not only did Sequeira score, but so did Gillespie and the Bear Cubs had a 4-2 lead.
That was enough for Jamerson, who allowed one baserunner in the bottom of the 11th and closed things out to raise his record to 5-0 on the season.
Jamerson would be right in the middle of the suspense two and a half hours later at the end of game two. Before that the game had the same kind of emotions. Although for a while it appear the sigh of relief of Game 1 was going to carry the Bear Cubs to the Super Regional with an, in comparison, an easy game two win. A two run double by Gillespie in the first wiped out an early 1-0 deficit. They added single runs on a RBI double by Siosi Poti in the 4th and a sacrifice fly by Spencer Neve in the 6th to take a healthy 4-1 lead.
Starter Brian Bynum was cruising, allowing just three hits since giving up a first inning run. But he didn’t make it out of the seventh as Los Medanos scored three runs to tie the game.
Here we go again.
The Bear Cubs scored what turned out to be the winning run in the bottom of the eighth when Neve hit his second sacrifice fly of the game.
So there was Jamerson out there this time trying to close things out in the ninth. He was looking for his first save of the season and would get it, but not before some suspense. With runners at first and second and one out, you would hear a collective sigh from the Santa Rosa faithful when Ryan Lacy launched one to deep left center field. What looked like trouble ended up in the glove of left fielder Ryan Xepoleas about ten feet in front of the fence and after a fly ball to right SRJC had survived the hectic day.
In the two games, Jamerson went three innings, didn’t allow a run while giving up three hits and striking out three. He was the winning pitcher in game one and got the save in game two.
The double header sweep gives SRJC thirty wins on the season.
The Super-Regionals is a four team double elimination tournament which starts at SRJC on Friday. The winner advances to the State Final Four, which is at Fresno City College the following weekend.
For now though, they should sit back, smile and reflect.
The Sonoma State softball team didn’t have the day that the SRJC baseball team had. In fact they lost two games and are eliminated from the CCAA Softball Post Season Tournament.
They now have a 36-19 record on the season and now wait until Monday Morning to see if they will make the NCAA Western Regional Tournament. The Seawolves went into the tournament ranked No. 4 in the West. The Top 8 makes the Regional.
Saturday opened with a 4-2 loss to Humboldt State, who is the CCAA regular season champion and the No. 4 team in the country. Humboldt State scored two runs in the first and second and held on.
Ali Palermo kept piling on her records with a two run homer in the sixth, her 14th of the season.
UCSD didn’t fool around with her in the second game, walking her three times. It was still a wild game won by UCSD 8-6. Sonoma State took the lead with a four run first. After UCSD tied the game 5-5, they retook the lead with a run in the fifth. UCSD won the game with a three run sixth.
UCSD has to beat Humboldt State twice today to win the tournament.
In most high school sports around here, it doesn’t matter where you are ranked locally, when a power from outside the area is on the schedule it doesn’t usually work out well.
The No. 1 Casa Grande baseball team made a statement with a win over Campolindo earlier this year.
On Saturday it was the No. 1 Petaluma Softball teams turn.
In a game between the No. 1 and No. 2 rated NCS Division 2 teams, Petaluma came away with a 2-1 win over Alhambra, which is as impressive as it is big.
Alhambra went into the game 16-1-1 and has dominated its league as much as Petaluma has dominated its league.
The game was like one you would expect between two good teams. The pitchers, Erin Enke for Alhambra and Dana Thomsen for Petaluma, went into the game with a combined record of 25-2. Both have an ERA of under one.
They didn’t disappoint giving up a combined seven hits and each striking out nine.
Petaluma was held to two hits, but one of them was a Joelle Krist second homer of the season, a two run shot in the bottom of the fourth. Krist is hitting .528 on the season.
Petaluma since losing its opener has won 19 straight. This game probably decided the No. 1 seed in the North Coast Section Division 2 playoffs. But there is some regular season left. Petaluma has a one game lead over Analy in the SCL race. The two teams meet this Thursday.
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