Woodcreek tops Rocklin twice, moves into Division II baseball final

By: Brett Ransford/Roseville Press Tribune Correspondent
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Woodcreek High School is headed to its first Sac-Joaquin Section Division II baseball championship game since 2004 after beating Rocklin 5-0 and 4-3 on Wednesday at American River College.

The Thunder, winner of three Division II crowns in five years, was no match for Timberwolves pitcher Stephen Nogosek. The junior right-hander threw a two-hitter with one walk and six strikeouts in the first game and struck out the final hitter in the deciding game to send his team to Monday’s championship.

The Timberwolves (23-7) will meet Sierra Foothill League rival Granite Bay at 6 p.m. at Sacramento City College.

Rocklin (18-12) committed five errors in the first game and had its last chance with two outs and the bases loaded in the bottom of the seventh inning of game three.

Nogosek prodded Woodcreek head coach Eric Valencia to let him pitch the last three innings of game three.

Rocklin tacked on two runs to starter Brandon Raposa’s otherwise stellar outing — a two-out double off reliever Austin Blatnick in the bottom of the seventh to make it 4-3.

Nogosek then stopped prodding.

“I was yelling at my coach to put me in,” Nogosek said.

Nogosek entered. His adrenaline fueled a 3-0 count, where a walk would put the go-ahead run at first behind the tying run at second.

“But then I calmed down and got those last three strikes,” said Nogosek, who also went 2 for 3 at the plate with an RBI.

Catching Nogosek’s 100 pitches — 94 in the first game, six in the second — was childhood friend George Corp, whose two-run double put Woodcreek up 3-0 in the third inning of the final game.

“We’re hitting right now, and we’re unstoppable right now. Finally, my bat came around just in time,” Corp said. “Nogo and I have that trust factor. No disagreements anywhere.”

Nogosek and Corp understood what a Woodcreek-Granite Bay matchup means.

“They’re going to throw their guy (Brendan) Keeney,” Nogosek said. “He’s a good pitcher. They’re a good team, and I can’t wait.”

Granite Bay won two of three from Woodcreek in their SFL series.