Vikings spoil Rocklin's title hopes

Oakmont win over Thunder hands GB SFL baseball crown
By: Brett Ransford, Press Tribune Correspondent
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There will be no shared Sierra Foothill Title this season in boys baseball. Rocklin High (12-5 SFL, 19-7 overall) missed its chance at a shared SFL title, losing 7-3 to the visiting Oakmont Vikings (6-11 SFL, 13-13 overall). The loss leaves Granite Bay, which has already concluded its season at 14-4 in the league, as the champions of the Sierra Foothill League. In a makeup game postponed from Monday the Vikings scored at least one run in each of the seven innings at Rocklin on Wednesday afternoon. Starting pitcher Jared Virtue had a complete game allowing just three runs through seven innings with five strikeouts and four walks. Virtue relied on some serious run support and solid defensive play backing his outing. Nick Hoffman batted an outstanding 4-for-4 with three singles, a home run and three RBIs. The big swinging bat of Hoffman came as a blessing for Virtue taking the mound in the final half inning where he struck out the last two batters and retired the side in back-to-back innings. “Adrenaline kicked in and I was really excited. Getting that first out helps a lot,” Virtue said. “Our defense was awesome today because we had Cody Carnahan in center field making great plays, Brandon Vargas made good plays at shortstop and Chris Novielli who’s come off the bench this year made three great plays in this game. It helps a lot when you don’t have to strike anybody out because you just put the ball in play.” The Vikings began putting the ball in play on the back of first baseman Tyler Kuresa in the first inning. Kuresa began a string of three straight singles capped by an RBI single by Hoffman. Rocklin kept it even after one scoring their first on a solid single base knock by Wes Marker, but the Vikings remained solid at the plate still. Vargas had an RBI double in the second for a 2-1 tiebreak. Hoffman brought in his second run with a single in the third and Kuresa impressed with a double for a run in the fourth. Hoffman jacked the only home run of the game. It was a big shot out to right for a 5-2 lead. From there the Thunder added another run in the fifth following Hoffman’s lap around the bags. Trevor McVey brought in his team’s last run in the fifth, narrowing the score to 5-3 before Oakmont added two in the sixth. “We had some great situational hitting,” said Viking coach Dean Perkins. “Basically Jared went out and did a great job throwing strikes with runners on base. It didn’t matter if there was one out or two outs we seemed to get hits. To me it matters less to knock someone out of a co-championship than it does to compete on any given day.” Rocklin struggled bringing in runs and with Virtue on the mound for every pitch the Vikings had a large momentum swing from that first Hoffman RBI. Starting pitcher Kyle Garvella gave up five runs in five innings pitched with one strikeout in the same inning as the home run. In relief Tiger Sorenson and Ben Brown got some work for the Thunder. “I think we made some base running errors and made some mistakes, but it didn’t cost us the whole game,” said Thunder coach Roc Murray. “Oakmont swinging the bat and putting the ball in play made it tough for us. Our goal is to be the best we can be at the end of the season and the season isn’t over yet.” In fact the Thunder season continues with one last home game Thursday against Oakmont to close out the SFL. After that, they jump into the Sac-Joaquin Section Division II playoffs as the No. 2 seed from the SFL.