Playoff chase continues Tuesday in SFL, CVC

Roseville takes series opener from Granite Bay
By: Bill Poindexter/Roseville Press Tribune Sports Editor
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The race for the Sierra Foothill League baseball championship and three berths in the Sac-Joaquin Section Division II playoffs ends Wednesday.

Through Monday, Rocklin (9-4) had a one-game lead over Roseville after beating Nevada Union (6-7) 7-3, Roseville (8-5) was alone in second following a 5-2 victory over Granite Bay (7-6), and Woodcreek (6-7) was in a tie for fourth with Nevada Union after losing at Del Oro (3-10) 4-3.

All three series continued Tuesday, and the scenarios are endless: Rocklin could clinch the title, or the Thunder could be tied for first with Roseville, which also could be tied for second with Granite Bay, which also could be in a three-way tie for third with Woodcreek and Nevada Union.

“We just have to take care of our own business,” Roseville coach Hank DeMello said.

The games might be stressful to the coaches, but the players are loving it.

“It’s crazy,” Roseville senior leader Nick Blaser said after giving the Tigers a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning Monday with a two-run homer — into the wind — starting a 6-4-3 double play to help douse a Granite Bay rally in the seventh and then carrying in the American flag from center field. “When we finish a game, we’re getting on the phone, we’re texting, we’re calling, trying to figure out what the score is. It’s a blast, especially going into the last week. You’re like, ‘Man, we gotta win every game or we could not be in the playoffs.’”

Winning pitcher Dalton Blaser took a no-hitter into the sixth inning and struck out six. He also followed brother Nick’s walk and stolen base with a double to center that gave Roseville a 4-0 lead in the third.

“Dalton hits one of the hardest balls I’ve seen,” DeMello said. “It one-hops — and the one hop I’m talking middle depth center field — hits the 364 sign. Just a rocket.”

Zac Cunha allowed two runs in the seventh before getting the double-play grounder to Nick Blaser at short, but Cunha’s knee tightened and Zach Hernandez walked two before a fly ball to right ended the game.

Oakmont 11, Rio Linda 6 — Ryan Gearing pitched a complete game and struck out 10, and Jared Virtue followed Tommy Wieser’s double with a two-run homer to give the Vikings a 3-2 lead. Oakmont’s Jimmy Lunardelli broke another tie with a leadoff homer in the sixth, and the next nine batters reached base in the 10-run inning, including three doubles and a triple.

Virtue also had two doubles and four RBI, Chris Novielli had a triple, double and three RBI, and Logan Coggeshall had a triple and three RBI.

Oakmont plays host to Rio Linda in its regular-season finale Wednesday. The Vikings are 7-7 in the CVC, one game behind Casa Roble and Del Campo, who are tied for second at 8-6.

Auburn Christian 1, Valley Christian 0 — The Lions face Auburn Christian again Tuesday for a share of the SMAL title after managing just one hit against Jake Sween on Friday. Valley Christian has won 13 consecutive league crowns. Lions pitcher Jimmy Shaw pitched a four-hitter and struck out 13. Auburn Christian’s run was unearned.