Rocklin downs Oak Ridge 15-3, advances to section finals in baseball

By: Russ Edmondson The Placer Herald
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Rocklin High blew out Oak Ridge 15-3 on Saturday in the Sac-Joaquin Section, Division II baseball semifinals at Sacramento City College. The Thunder will play Granite Bay for the Div. 2 title at 6 p.m. at Sacramento City College on Monday. Saturday’s game between Rocklin (23-8 overall) and Oak Ridge (27-4 overall) was game three of a three-game series. The first two games were both decided by a single run and featured a combined seven extra innings. Saturday’s game was nothing like the first two as the Thunder lead continued to grow as the innings went on. Rocklin pitchers Kyle Garvella (five innings, three runs, two earned runs, five singles, walk, hit by pitch, four strikeouts) and Blake Fassler (two innings, no runs, no hits, no walks, three strikeouts) were solid on the mound. Oak Ridge started its top two pitchers (Kyle Porter, Jordan Mills) in games one and two and its regular third starter Curtis Cantaloube was out injured (broke his wrist about a week ago). Therefore Chris Muse-Fisher started on the mound and he lasted 2 1/3 innings (four runs, four earned runs, five hits, one walk, one hit batter, two strikeouts) before leaving with what coach Todd Melton called an “elbow twinge.” Mills, who will pitch in college for St. Mary’s, threw the next four innings for Oak Ridge (eight runs, six earned runs, 10 hits, walk, hit batter, one strikeout). Mills was removed in the seventh and final inning as teammates Cole Hanson (0 innings, one walk, one run) and Jake Wehr (2/3 of an inning, two hits, two runs) both pitched in the seventh. “I think we all really expected a close game,” Garvella said. “(But) we just hit it very well and there was nothing they could do about it.” Oak Ridge had won 25 games in a row prior to the game-one loss to Rocklin on Monday. The Trojans were also ranked No. 9 in the state by prior to this series. “We are not going to make excuses . . . today they were the better team,” Melton said. “Today we didn’t get it done. Probably our first game of the year and our last game of the year were our worst, but sandwiched between was something special. The kids really set the standard for Oak Ridge baseball and it will probably be the standard for a long time. This (kind of season) doesn’t happen very often.” Rocklin coach Roc Murray didn’t anticipate a blowout win. “I expected a close game . . . (this series) was a gut check all the way through,” Murray said. “We swung it pretty well.” Rocklin’s players are certainly enjoying this playoff run. “It was fun – the best times of my life are playing in this games,” said Rocklin junior leadoff man and center fielder Austin Diemer. Garvella said, “I had so much fun out there today.” Both teams scored a single run in the second inning. Rocklin, the visiting team, scored when Matt Fielding hit a bunt single and Garvella drove him in with a double. Oak Ridge tied the game 1-1 when Tommy Massa walked with the bases loaded. The Thunder then exploded offensively, scoring three runs in the third inning, three more in the fourth and one more in the fifth to take an 8-1 lead. Rocklin’s Wes Marker and Derek Neff had run-scoring singles in the third inning while Marker had another run-scoring single in the fourth. Diemer also hit a double in the fourth inning. Rocklin’s Chris Streeter tripled in the fifth inning and came around to score on a single by Diemer to make it 8-1. Oak Ridge scored twice in the last of the fifth inning as Mills hit a two-run single. The Thunder then put the game away with seven runs in the seventh inning. Streeter, Diemer (two-run triple), Marker (three-run double) and Fielding (triple) had run scoring hits in the inning. Diemer (four-for-five, three RBI), Marker (3-5, five RBI), Fielding (3-5, RBI), Garvella (2-5, two RBI) and Streeter (3-4, RBI) were the offensive leaders for Rocklin. Mills (3-3, two RBI) was the offensive star for Oak Ridge. Granite Bay advanced to the finals by eliminating Roseville in two games. The Thunder won two-of-three games from the Grizzlies in Sierra Foothill League play but Granite Bay won the SFL title. Rocklin placed second in the SFL. Rocklin senior ace Matt Fielding will pitch for Rocklin while senior ace Braden Young is expected to throw for the Grizzlies. “I’m excited,” Diemer said. “(Granite Bay winning the SFL) just makes us want to work harder to keep going after them.”