EUREKA – St. Bernard’s coach Matt Tomlin wanted to make sure that his senior ace would be available for the quarterfinals, so he handed the ball to a pair of underclassmen on Tuesday. What he got in return was a sparkling performance, a combined no-hitter during the Crusaders’ 10-0 first-round win over Sonoma Academy.
“We feel we have a deep pitching staff with five quality arms,” Tomlin said. “Our sophomore and freshman pitched outstanding, and they allowed us to save our senior ace to face a very strong Branson team on Friday.”
Sophomore Bode Joyner and freshman Nick Dugan combined to strike out nine batters and walked just one as they mowed through the Sonoma Academy lineup. Meanwhile, that senior ace – Caleb Ruiz – did more than his share at the plate to help out his young proteges, going 2-for-3 with two home runs and six RBIs in the mercy-rule shortened five-inning game.
St. Bernard’s scored five times in the bottom of the first, getting a three-run home run from Ruiz, plus run-scoring singles from Dugan and Ayden Hamanaka. Ruiz added to the lead with a two-run shot in the bottom of the second, and Cole Petrusha made it 8-0 in the fourth with his RBI single. Lane Thrap tripled to score a run in the bottom of the fifth, and after a pair of walks loaded the bases, Ruiz drew a five-pitch walk to force in another run and end the game early.
Meanwhile, Joyner earned the win by throwing the first three innings, allowing just the one walk and extending his scoreless inning streak to nine. He threw just 47 pitches, so he will be available if needed in the quarterfinals against Branson. Dugan struck out four in his two innings.
St. Bernard’s will face Branson, the seven seed out of the MCAL who defeated Urban 5-3 in the first round.
Athenian, Fremont Christian set to meet again
Athenian and Fremont Christian will meet in the playoffs for the fourth straight year, after both teams won their first round games on Tuesday.
Fremont Christian scored both of its runs early and got a strong pitching performance from senior ace Bubba Gomez to hold off Stuart Hall, 2-1.
John Sanguinetti led off the bottom of the first with a double for the Warriors, took third on a wild pitch and then came around to score on another one that got away from the catcher. Stuart Hall threatened slightly in the top of the third when Gomez issued a two-out walk and then hit a batter, but he promptly picked the lead runner off second base to get out of the inning.
Fremont Christian added to its lead in the bottom of the third, and although the mini rally started differently, the end result was eerily familiar. Sanguinetti drew a one-out walk, then stole second and advanced to third on a wild pitch during Gomez’s at-bat. He then scored on another wild pitch during the following at-bat for a 2-0 lead.
Stuart Hall scored its lone run in the top of the sixth, when Jonathan Newsome was hit by a pitch to start the inning, stole second, advanced to third on a ground out and eventually scored on an error. The Knights got a two-out single from Ryan Darwin in the top of the seventh, after Sanguinetti had to replace Gomez on the mound due to pitch count limit, but Sanguinetti retired the next batter to end the game.
“I was hoping to get Bubba out of there after a few innings, but the game was so tight and we couldn’t look ahead,” said Fremont Christian coach Chris Gomez. “John gave him enough offense today, and he was in a groove. Now we get ready for Athenian.”
Gomez struck out 10 batters and allowed just two hits to earn the win for Fremont Christian, while Luke Moore struck out nine over six innings for Stuart Hall.
Athenian, meanwhile, erased an early two-run deficit against International, scoring all seven of its runs in the third and fourth innings for the 7-2 victory. AJ Sheinberg, Nathan McCurdy and Bryan Tierney each had two hits for the Owls, while Holden Smith had a pair of doubles for International. CJ Mancini also had a two-run double for Athenian.
Top seed Berean Christian survives first-round challenge
Berean Christian scored twice in the bottom of the first and then got a fantastic outing from Andrew Meyer to down upset-minded Head-Royce, 2-1.
Meyer went the distance for the Eagles, striking out 12 and allowing just three hits. Head-Royce scored its lone run in the top of the sixth, on a run-scoring ground out by Nick Fitzhugh. Other than that, Meyer was dominant and he also helped his own cause in the bottom of the first, singling with runners on first and second to score Jordan Alexander with the first run of the game. Ian Alvarado then scored on Jack Seelye’s ground ball to third base.
Berean Christian will face Cloverdale on Friday, at Concord High.
Around the horn
University scored twice in the top of the 12th, but St. Vincent de Paul came back with three runs in the bottom half to oust the Red Devils, 4-3. AJ Fetter, Gio Antonini, Dante Antonini and Andrew Kohler all drove in runs during the win for the Mustangs.
St. Vincent will face The Bay School, which defeated Drew, 5-2. Senior Alex Regier allowed just one hit in four innings for the Breakers, who also got two hits each from Simon Bleskacek and Zach Mathews.
Sophomore Collin Patterson went 3-for-4 with a double and three RBIs for Cloverdale, which defeated Ferndale, 7-2. Senior Keller Sibert tossed a complete game for the Eagles, scattering seven hits, allowing one earned run and striking out three.