DANVILLE – For the past few years, the trio of John Sanguinetti, Bubba Gomez and Tyler Woodman have powered the baseball program at Fremont Christian. On Friday in the North Coast Section Division V quarterfinals against rival Athenian, they came through once again, this time in the top of the eighth inning to lift the Warriors to a thrilling 8-6 victory.
With one out in the top of the eighth, Sanguinetti singled to left, and both runners were safe on Gomez’s infield single to third. After the pair executed a double steal, Sanguinetti scored on an error to give Fremont Christian a one-run lead. Gomez was then picked off second, but Woodman came through with a solo home run – his second of the game - to provide some insurance, and then set the Owls down without incident in the bottom half of the inning to preserve the victory.
“I couldn’t be more proud of this group of young men. The resiliency they showed is unbelievable,” said Fremont Christian coach Chris Gomez. “We felt like we were the only ones who actually believed we could win this game, and now it is on to the final four.”
The finish was fitting in a game that featured Fremont Christian taking early control, only to see Athenian storm back and take the lead. Woodman’s solo shot in the top of the first got the Warriors started, and a two-run single by Daniel Lopez in the top of the fifth inning staked Fremont Christian to a 4-1 lead. Athenian took its first lead of the game in the bottom of the fifth, scoring four runs, capped by a two-run double by Bryan Tierney.
The Owls extended their lead to two runs in the bottom of the sixth, when AJ Sheinberg doubled to drive in CJ Mancini, but the Warriors battled back in the top of the seventh. Gomez led off the inning with a single, part of his three-hit day, and Woodman walked to put the tying runs on base. Emilio Martin singled to right with one out, scoring Gomez and advancing Woodman to third. Lopez then hit a come-backer to Athenian pitcher Rushil Ray, but Woodman beat the throw home to tie the game and send it to extra innings.
Woodman earned the win in relief for the Warriors, while also going 3-for-4 at the plate. Nathan McCurdy had three hits in the loss for the Owls. Fremont Christian advances to face Branson in the semifinals, after the seventh-seeded Bulls knocked off two-seed St. Bernard’s in the quarterfinals.
Pitching continues to lead Berean Christian
On Tuesday, Andrew Meyer put forth a dominant pitching performance to lead Berean Christian past Head-Royce in the first round of the Division V playoffs. Friday, it was Cole Duey’s turn, and he responded by matching his teammate with a complete game, three-hit performance in a 3-1 quarterfinal win over Cloverdale.
“Any team, regardless of division, would be fortunate to have two guys like Andrew and Cole in their rotation,” said Berean Christian coach Jeremy Brys. “These two guys flat out deal on the mound, and also get it done at the plate.”
On Friday against Cloverdale, Duey allowed an unearned run in the top of the first inning and then slammed the door from there, facing just two batters above the minimum over the final six innings. Meanwhile, Meyer picked up his pitching mate in the bottom of the first with his double to left field, scoring Duey after he had singled with one out.
Berean Christian scored its two other runs in the bottom of the fourth, on a run-scoring single by A Shellooe and a two-out error on Ian Alvarado’s ground ball to third which allowed Shellooe to score. Meanwhile, Duey retired the final eight batters he faced to secure the win and a trip to the semifinals.
“We knew Cloverdale would present a challenge, and Cole did not have his best stuff, but he is so great even he does not have his best stuff. He grinded his way to the complete game, twice getting inning-ending double plays to escape unscathed,” Brys added. “A lot of credit also has to go to our infield, as they made some great plays on those double plays. Those guys have made it real easy for our pitchers to feel comfortable pitching to contact.”
This is the third season in a row that the Eagles have advanced to the semifinals, leading Brys to comment on the “unfinished business” that now lies in front of his team. They will face The Bay School in the semifinals, after the Breakers blanked St. Vincent de Paul in the quarterfinals.
Division V roundup
Alex Regier struck out five and allowed no hits or walks over six innings, leading The Bay School past St. Vincent de Paul, 4-0. Peter Colohan pitched a scoreless seventh inning in relief of Regier, who also pitched during the Breakers’ first-round victory. Simon Blescacek had an RBI single in the bottom of the third for The Bay School, while Matty Fisher had a two-run single in the bottom of the fourth. Trent Free had the only hit of the game for the Mustangs, in the seventh inning.
Will Jacobsen went 2-for-4 at the plate and threw a complete game on the mound for Branson, allowing just four hits and one earned run while striking out nine in a 4-3 quarterfinal win over St. Bernard’s. Jack Talbert scored on an error in the top of the first inning and Blaze Maier swiped home in the top of the second inning to stake the Bulls to an early lead.