The moment of truth has come for the SRJC baseball team.
They are one week and three games away from the Big 8 championship.
The Bear Cubs played one of those tense games on Saturday, going ten innings to defeat San Joaquin Delta 4-1 and salvage one game of the three game series. So SRJC keeps its one game lead over Sierra.
The game ended San Joaquin Delta’s hope for a league championship and also ended a competitive three game series in which two went into extra innings and the other was a one run game.
Santa Rosa has the best pitching in the Big 8 and it came through in one of the big games of the season.
Three pitchers held San Joaquin Delta to six hits and kept the game going. After San Joaquin Delta took a 1-0 lead in the second they were shut down the rest of the way, going three up and three down in five of the next eight innings.
Brian Bryum went the first seven innings and then JJ Jamerson and Tyler Sanders came out of the bullpen to keep things under control.
After falling behind, SRJC didn’t stay behind long. That was after they looked like they were going to spoil a big chance after having runners at second and third with no outs. San Joaquin Delta was one out away from getting out of the inning when Antony Sequeira singled to get the game tying run in. It was the 29th RBI of the season for Sequeria, which is second in the Big 8.
After that it was all about pitching and defense as neither team could get much going. Sean Bennetts took the mound in the fourth inning for San Joaquin Delta and pitched until the tenth. He only faced more than three hitters in one of those six innings, giving up just one hit.
In the tenth, the Bear Cubs had an inning like the third by almost letting a big chance slip away and then come up with a clutch hit. Stephen McElroy led off the inning with a triple. Bennetts then got a strike out and a pop to the catcher sandwiched around a walk and was one out away from getting out of the jam. Ryan Xepoleas, who had scored the Bear Cubs first run, came up with the hit of the season lashing a double to give them a 3-1 lead. Xepoleas, who is batting .308 on the season, scored on a single by Taylor Martin.
Tyler Sanders, after allowing two singles, ended things in the bottom of the tenth to get his fifth save of the season.
Sierra kept pace with SRJC with a 19-7 win over American River.
These two teams have been the top two ranked Nor Cal teams in the state all season and now it comes down to this for the Big 8 championship.
The schedule pattern for this last week changes. Up to now the teams have had three game series played on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday, with two games played in one location, the other in another. This week the teams play three different teams.
SRJC looks to have the schedule advantage. They play its last road game on Tuesday at American River before ending the regular season with home games with Diablo Valley and Cosumnes River on Thursday and Saturday. Those three teams are at the bottom of the Big 8 standings and are a combined 16-47 in league play.
Sierra meanwhile is meeting three teams that have post season hopes starting on Tuesday at American River, who is ranked No. 3 in Northern California. They end the season with home games against Diablo Valley and Cosumnes River.
THE CLOSENESS SPREADS
Apparently the one run games in the NBL include non-league games.
Montgomery stepped out of league play on Saturday and scored a run in the bottom of the sixth to defeat Pinole Valley 6-5.
This is one of those games that could have an effect come NCS playoff seeding time. Pinole Valley, like Montgomery, is in Division 2 and is tied for first place in the Tri-County-Stone League Race.
Seven of eleven Montgomery wins this season have been by one run. They have also had a tie.
TIE FOR SECOND IN SCL BASEBALL RACE
Austin Gabbett hit a three run double to lead Petaluma to a 7-3 win over Healdsburg. The win keeps Petaluma in a second place tie with Piner two games behind Analy in the SCL baseball race.
According to MaxPreps it was the first varsity appearance of the season for Gabbett who is a sophomore.
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