Saturday, May 28th, 2016
By: Gabriel Rios
The stage for the 2016 CIF Sac-Joaquin DI Championship is set as and it just so happens to be a rematch of Round 1 at the Boras Classic as the Elk Grove Thundering Herd take on the Tracy Bulldogs. Elk Grove will be looking to send their seniors out in style by capping off the 2016 season with a little dish of revenge and more importantly the big boy trophy. Tracy isn’t interested in being this stories supporting actor and much rather it become a story focusing on the underdog spoiler with an us versus the world chip on their shoulder. Should be a fantastic game and perfect ending to each teams 2016 season. We will be breaking down the final chapter in full as we get closer. For now let’s recap how we reached the final upcoming final chapter.
2016 CIF Sac-Joaquin D1 North Championship
Elk Grove 6 vs Oak Ridge 2
In Game one the Thundering Herd looked to their dude Dylan Carlson to put the team on his back and get his brothers an opportunity to play a second game. Carlson who has been fantastic on the bump all year long was full of nerves in the 1st and after Oak Ridge plated two in the bottom of one you got the sense this just wasn’t going to be The Herds day. To Elk Grove’s credit that doubt was only felt outside the fence. The seasoned and battle tested Herd never allowed that doubt to permeate into their dugout and after those 1st three outs were recorded the Herd and Carlson in particular really settled in. Oak Ridge wouldn’t score again and rarely threatened.
Trailing 2-0 in the top of the 3rd, Senior Erek Bolton crushed a Trenton Denholm 2-2 pitch to the left field wall plating two and getting the Herd to draw even in game one. Oak Ridge Junior Trenton Denholm threw five and a third innings striking out seven along the way but costly errors extended innings and because of that the ultra effective Denholm seen his PC rise and ended up with one of his shortest outings of the year. In our Keys of the Game from CIF Sac-Joaquin Preview we mentioned the Oak Ridge Teams age and said they needed to avoid feeling pressure and playing tight but that’s exactly what hapened after the Bolton 2 RBI base knock.
Oak Ridge mounted their biggest threat in the bottom of the 4th but a game changing double play sealed Oak Ridge’s fate as Elk Grove seized the momentum and never looked back. With runners on 1st and 2nd and one out this happened
— EG Herd Baseball (@egherdbaseball) May 28, 2016
With one hard hit ball the wind left Oak Ridge sails and moved directly over to Elk Grove pushing them to victory.
In the top of the 5th Elk Grove got a huge two base knock to take the lead and from that point never reliquished it.
— EG Herd Baseball (@egherdbaseball) May 28, 2016
Elk Grove scored three more times and walked away from game one as 6-2 winners.
In game two EG turned to Christian Scott and he answered with a six strong innings of work and earning the championship game win.
The Elk Grove battle tested seniors lead the efforts in game two as they have done this many times before. Defense in game two was fantastic again with numerous rally killing double plays to go along with a ball hawking outfield that looked more the halftime dogs chasing frisbees play after play. Robards was key for the Herd offensively with two huge game changing base knocks including one triple and one rbi single.
In the end it was the Herd who’s history and familiarity with the championship and big games in general was just the advantage the Herd needed to come out on top versus the young but ultra talented Oak Ridge team. Although Oak Ridge has to be disappointed with the outcome they surely have no reason to hang their heads. Heading into 2017 this Oak Ridge team will likely be considered the odds on favorite to not only get back to this game but win it as well.
2016 CIF Sac-Joaquin D1 South Championship
Tracy (6) vs St. Mary’s (4)
The Tracy Bulldogs took a bend but not break approach on their way the the 2016 CIF Sac-San Joaquin South Championship. Junior Cody Bolton took the bump for Tracy and he was good but not great. Bolton threw a complete game seven hitter allowing 4 runs while striking out four batters. The real story was the Bulldog defense that came up huge when they needed to most and an offense that just kept plugging away.
St. Mary’s jumped out to a 2-0 lead after one on the strength of RBI hits from sophomore Dillion Tatum and Senior Issiah Bettencourt. In the third Tatum would once again drive in a run and St. Mary’s took a 3-0 lead. Tracy answered back with one of their own in the bottom half of the inning.
After the third frame Bolton and the Tracy defense took over allowing only one more run in the top of the 7th. In the bottom of the 4th Senior Josh Alvarado broke the game open with a bases clearing knock. Tracy took the 5-3 and never relinquished that lead.
Tracy now has their eyes set on the big prize the Sac-San Joaquin Championship but will need to get through the the Thundering Herd of Elk Grove. Tracy beat Elk Grove earlier this year so their is no doubt they are feeling confident heading in to their championship game.
The San-San Joaquin Championship game is a best of three series and starts June 3rd