Rocklin must beat Ponderosa twice Thursday in baseball playoffs

By: Russ Edmondson The Placer Herald
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Rocklin High’s baseball team must defeat Ponderosa twice Thursday in order to advance to Monday’s Sac-Joaquin Section, Division II championship at Sacramento City College. Ponderosa opened the three-game series by beating Rocklin 7-4 on Monday night. The series continues with Game 2 at 5 p.m. Thursday and Game 3, if necessary, will follow at 8 p.m. All games will be played at Sacramento City College. Rocklin played sloppy in Monday’s game, committing seven errors and allowing four unearned runs. “We need to play better,” Rocklin coach Roc Murray said. “We have some things to work on and we have to get them fixed . . . We have really not played very well these last two games.” Murray was referring to an 8-3 victory over Burbank (11-16 overall, third seed from Metro League) in the first round of the playoffs on May 14. Murray plans to start senior Jason Hampton on the mound in Game 2 and junior Kyle Garvella for Game 3 if there is one. He expects Ponderosa to throw senior star Matt Evanoff in Game 2. Evanoff, who will pitch on scholarship at the University of California next year, has a 0.81 ERA with 71 strikeouts and 12 walks in 60.2 innings this season. He can reach the mid-90s with his fastball. Evanoff, who recorded the final two outs in Monday’s game, lost to Rocklin in a playoff game last year. “It was very good – figure some things out,” said Murray about having his guys get a look at Evanoff on Monday. Whoever advances will play in Monday’s title game at 6 p.m. against Granite Bay. Rocklin went 3-0 against Granite Bay during Sierra Foothill League play. Rocklin scored first in Monday’s loss (Hampton drove in senior Pat Stover with a first-inning double) but Ponderosa answered back with two runs in the top of the second inning (two-run single by Stephan Brown). The Thunder tied the game 2-2 in the last of the third when Stover scored on a wild pitch. The Bruins answered again though, scoring three runs in the top of the fourth to go up 5-2. A dropped third strike and two errors aided the Ponderosa rally. Rocklin’s last run came in the bottom of the seventh and final inning when Austin Diemer walked with the bases loaded. Stover (3-for-4, double, triple) and Hampton (3-4, two doubles, two RBI) led the Thunder offense. Senior Matt Fielding (5.1 innings, seven runs, three earned runs, eight hits, one walk, three strikeouts) started on the mound for Rocklin while Tiger Sorenson (1.2 innings, one hit, one walk, one strikeout) finished up. Rocklin got up 8-0 on Burbank in the first round, scoring all its runs over the first four innings. Fielding pitched five innings for Rocklin, allowing no runs on three hits and one walk while striking out 10. Hampton pitched the final two innings. Hampton and Stover combined to drive in five runs for the Thunder.