Here are some highlights and a complete look at all of the CIF baseball and softball regional championship games played on Saturday with one that was played on Friday and one game that has had to be delayed until Monday due to rain in the far North Coast region of the state.
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NorCal Baseball D1
The De La Salle Spartans may just be one of the toughest teams in the state to secure the final three outs against, as No. 1 St. Francis (Mountain View) found out Saturday afternoon. The Spartans were down 6-3 heading into the bottom of the seventh inning in the NorCal Division 1 regional championship game, but the East Bay side quickly loaded the bases with no outs after two errors and one HBP. Senior Donovan Chriss pushed across the first run off of Lancers’ relief pitcher Will Bonini, with the senior driving in an RBI single that pulled the Spartans within two. De La Salle followed up the Chriss RBI with a fielder’s choice that scored the runner and put the winning run on second base with the tying run at third. Stepping up to the plate was Ethan Dungo and the senior smacked a chopper nearly off of home plate that took a high bounce over Bonini and just past the glove of St. Francis’ shortstop for the walk off hit that scored Chriss.
With the victory, De La Salle (27-6) likely has wrapped up the end of season No. 1 ranking in the state since the Lancers (31-5) had that ranking coming into the game. That also is due to the results in Southern California with Huntington Beach defeating No. 2 JSerra.
According to Bay Area News Group’s Darren Sabedra, the Spartans also are now on a 23-game postseason winning streak with the victory. It was a pitcher’s duel for most of the game De La Salle’s UCLA signee Cal Randall and St. Francis’s Blake Rodgers. A play that will get lost after the walkout heroics at the end of the game was the diving catch of Tanner Griffith in the fourth inning, as the junior rightfielder did a full extension to rob St. Francis of two guaranteed runs that surely would have scored if the ball didn’t find his glove. The Lancers broke to a 3-1 advantage for the Spartans in the top of the fifth inning, as Max Ross hit a two-run home run and St. Francis drove in four runs in the frame. Alongside Ross, Wyatt King was 1-for-4 with a team high two RBI.
NorCal Softball D1
While the St. Francis baseball team wasn’t able to end its season with a win, the softball team walked away with a dominating 6-0 victory over No. 7 Clovis in the NorCal Division 1 regional championship game. The Lancers had to walk through three top 10 teams in the state in their last four contests to secure the NorCal title and likely No. 1 team in the state status. They also defeating two coaches with over 1,500 combined wins in the final two games.
It was a pitcher’s duel early between Clovis’ Cal State University Northridge commit Lauryn Carranco and St. Francis sophomore Kate Munnerlyn. The Lancers had a couple opportunities early, but it took until the bottom of the third inning for St. Francis to break the scoreless contest. Brooke Deppiesse had the honors, as the senior had an RBI double and Ella Milante would add a solo home run in the fourth inning.
The fifth frame was key for securing the victory for the Lancers, as St. Francis (31-2) sent 10 batters to the plate and four would cross for runs. Minnesota signee Jessica Oakland only had one hit, but launched a double for two RBI in the inning. Carly Cummings had her eye dialed in all afternoon, as the junior was 4-for-5 and scored one run. In the circle, Munnerlyn threw three innings of four-hit ball and was joined by fellow sophomore Shannon Keighran, who also managed three innings. St. Francis wrapped up its season on a 18-game winning streak and avenged one of its two losses by defeating No. 5 Sheldon (Sacramento) in the semifinals.
Clovis capped its season at 26-7.
NorCal Baseball D2
Archbishop Mitty (San Jose) took an early lead on Sac-Joaquin Section representative Granite Bay, but would need to sweat out the final frame to achieve a 4-2 victory over the Grizzlies in the NorCal Division 2 Regional Championship game.
The Monarchs (24-10) jumped ahead for good in the bottom of the first inning, as Antonio Cabrera started off the scoring with a sacrifice fly to left field and T.J. Hays followed up his fellow senior with a single into left-center field to push the Archbishop Mitty advantage to 2-0 after the opening frame. The Monarchs continued their sound fundamental baseball in the second inning, as Alijah Ramos hit the second sacrifice fly to extend the lead to 3-0. Granite Bay had its best success in the top of the third inning, as Preston Fondren found a gap in left field to drive in two runs. This would be the closest the Grizzlies would come to winning the NorCal Division 2 title. Hays would add the second of his game high two RBI in the bottom of the fifth inning. Granite Bay (21-14) had the tying run at the plate with two outs in the top of the seventh inning, but the Grizzlies popped out to center field for the final out. Luka Pintar threw a gem on the mound for the Monarchs, as the sophomore hurler nearly threw a complete game in the victory. Pintar lasted 6 ⅔ innings while allowing only two runs on six hits and punched out five batters. Tristan Fox completed the game with the final out for Archbishop Mitty.
SoCal Baseball D2
Etiwanda started Saturday’s SoCal Division 2 Regional Championship game about as well as it could have hoped, as the Eagles raced out to a 3-0 advantage over Torrey Pines of San Diego after two innings of play. The most runs Etiwanda had allowed to an opponent during its playoff run had been two runs to Temecula Valley (Temecula) in the opening round of the CIF Southern Section Division 2 playoffs. Etiwanda had hoped that up and coming ace Brady Ebel would be able to make the start, but the freshman was dealing with a back injury and manned third base. Yahir Ramirez pitched well for two innings, but Torrey Pines came alive in the third inning and the Falcons bats never turned off. Torrey Pines (23-12) added over five runs in each of the third, fourth and sixth innings in the 19-8 six inning contest. Etiwanda ended its season at 27-9.
NorCal Softball D2
Lincoln (Stockton) didn’t make many headlines in the Sac-Joaquin Section this year, but the Trojans showed promise in a 5-4 10-inning defeat at the hands of No. 17 St. Francis (Sacramento) back in April. It was a loss that showed Lincoln could hang with some of the top teams in the state. The Trojans proved that Friday with a dominating 7-1 victory over a quality Benicia side.
Lincoln (27-6-1) wasted no time taking control of the game for good, as the hosts scored five runs in the bottom of the first inning at the Lincoln Softball Complex. The five runs would be all that Lincoln ace Peja Goold would need, as the senior threw a complete game three hitter while striking out 10 Panther hitters. In comments made to the Vallejo Times Herald, multiple players brought up the good spin on Goold’s pitches that was a difference at the plate. Benicia (24-7) needed 10 innings to outlast formerly ranked Notre Dame (Salinas) the night before in a 5-2 victory. Lincoln added two more runs in the bottom of the second inning and the rout was full steam ahead for the Trojans.
SoCal Softball D2
It was a wild game at El Camino College in Torrance on Saturday, as Mater Dei Catholic (Chula Vista) defeated Torrance 15-9 in eight innings. Seven runs were scored between the two sides in the opening inning, as Torrance led 5-2 after the first. Mater Dei Catholic (23-11) chipped away at the Torrance lead in each inning, but it took until the top of the sixth for the Crusaders to notch the game at 9-9. The wheels came off for the Tartars (26-9) pitching staff in extra innings, as Mater Dei Catholic nearly had a grand slam that turned into two RBI. At the end of the inning, six Crusaders would touch home plate in the game defining inning.
NorCal Baseball D3
The California high school sports season will last a couple more days, as the NorCal Division 3 game between St. Bernards (Eureka) vs Alpha Carter (Sacramento) was delayed until Monday because of rain in Humboldt County.
NorCal Baseball D4
Colusa came into the NorCal Division 4 regional championship game with dreams of completing an undefeated 34-0 season, but it quickly turned into a nightmare for the Redhawks. Bradshaw Christian (Sacramento) scored seven runs in the top of the first inning and cruised to a 9-0 blowout victory. Powering the Pride at the plate were Malachi Fuller and Micah Nicolson, as the duo both had a game high two RBI. The story this postseason for Bradshaw Christian has been its pitching and defense, as the Sac-Joaquin Section Division 5 winners only allowed four runs through seven games in the playoffs. Usually freshman ace Dylan Wood has been on the mound, but after pitching the game before Bradshaw Christian coach and former San Francisco Giants minor leaguer Kurt Takahashi sent fellow freshman David Wiser to the mound for the start. The freshman in his first start of the season threw a complete game six-hitter. The Pride ended 26-4 and are likely going to be elevated to No. 1 in the final Cal-Hi Sports Division 4 state rankings.
Note: All of the other CIF regional winners from baseball and softball in D3, D4 and D5 will be mentioned in our final divisional state rankings, which will be done in our traditional five-division format.
Daniel Poulter is a free-lance writer based in Windsor, Calif. He also currently does work for the Napa Valley Register. Follow him @DanielJPoulter. Follow editor Mark Tennis on the Cal-Hi Sports Twitter handle: @CalHiSports