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PREP BASEBALL

Rocklin heads into league against Nevada Union

Thunder hosts Miners Saturday
By: Jim Linsdau, Sports Editor
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After a 3-5 start in preseason, the Rocklin High baseball team won its last three games and is beginning to gel going into Sierra Foothill League play this week. Error prone in the early going, the Thunder now is eliminating its mistakes.

Rocklin head coach Roc Murray said his pitching is excellent. Led by Austin Dick and Ryan Smith, Murray’s bullpen has also included Taylour Reidt, Griffin Harrell, Sam Curtis, Eric Peterson, Jack Dennis, Kevin Bevilaqua, Danny Cogan, Nick Mears, Logan Webb and Jack Wittwer.

“Pitching has been outstanding,” Murray said last weekend. The Thunder hasn’t given up more than six runs in 10 of its first 11 games.

“A couple of guys have really come on defensively in the last few weeks,” Murray continued. "The defense is starting to solidify.”

Along with the improvement on defense, the boys in blue are picking up their production in the batter’s box as well. The Thunder have averaged seven runs a game since March 26 after producing just three a game in their first five games.

Murray also was quick to point out the quality of the teams Rocklin has played in the preseason. The combined records of those teams have 20 more wins than loses at this point in the season.

After reaching the semifinals in last year’s Division II Sac-Joaquin Section Playoffs, Rocklin will now have to compete at Division I. Three of the Division II final four teams were from the SFL last year.

St. Mary’s won the Division I title in 2012. The Thunder lost to the Rams by one run March 8. March 15, Rocklin defeated Davis 3-2. The Blue Devils lost in the Division I semifinals last year as well.

“We play a lot of teams that have won in our section,” Murray said, indicating the Thunder by definition wasn’t a Division I school. “We scratch and claw for all we get.”

Murray has 24 players in uniform and all have a job, whether it’s on the ball field as a starter or one prepared to come in where needed. The longtime coach said his philosophy of no player is above his teammates takes a while to catch on sometimes. He said this year was no different.

However, that seems to be rapidly fading as the Thunder players are beginning to meld into a team. With 12 seniors on the squad that’s none too soon but Murray eschews the idea it’s all his doing.

“It’s not about what I say or what I do; it’s what they want to do,” Murray said. “They did it. They’re going to do the very best they can.”

Rocklin opened SFL competition Tuesday beating Nevada Union 9-0. The Thunder will play the Miners in Grass Valley Thursday and the teams will return to Rocklin for game three of their series.

SIERRA FOOTHILL LEAGUE

Schedule Week 1

Tuesday, April 9, 4 p.m.

Nevada Union (8-5) at Rocklin (6-5)

Woodcreek (9-2) at Del Oro (4-7)

Roseville (6-5) at Granite Bay (7-5)

Thursday, April 11, 4 p.m.

Rocklin at Nevada Union

Del Oro at Woodcreek

Granite Bay at Roseville

Saturday, April 13, 11 a.m.

Nevada Union at Rocklin

Woodcreek at Del Oro

Roseville at Granite Bay