Thunder begin quest for another section crown

By: Russ Edmondson The Placer Herald
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Rocklin High’s varsity baseball team won the section title last year and it opened its quest to do it again this week. The Thunder, the Sierra Foothill League champion, opened the Sac-Joaquin Section, Division II playoffs Wednesday against Burbank. Burbank (10-16 overall, 6-9 in the Metro League) took the third and final playoff spot from the Metro but it entered the playoffs on a four-game losing streak. Those four losses, two each to league opponents McClatchy and Rosemont, were by a combined score of 42-12. McClatchy and Rosemont placed first and second in the Metro, respectively, and Burbank combined to go 0-6 against them this season. “They were better earlier in the year than they are right now,” Rocklin coach Roc Murray said. “They run pretty well and put some pressure on you.” The winner plays Monday at 5 p.m. at Sacramento City College against either Ponderosa or Rosemont in the first game of a best-of-three series. The series will conclude Tuesday on the same field with either one or two games. The winner of that series will advance to the section finals at Sacramento City College at 6 p.m. May 26. “The entire (year) our goal has been to be the best team we can be at the end of the year,” Murray said. “Some things we’ve worked on and had lengthy discussions on those things and just continuing to get better. We’ve talked about what the playoffs look like and we are just pushing.” Rocklin (17-9 overall, 13-5 in the SFL) lost its final two games of the regular season, both to Del Oro. The Golden Eagles won the finale 4-1 at Rocklin May 7 after topping the Thunder 1-0 three days earlier. The Thunder had already clinched first place prior to the losses. “It’s a big deal in that we need to get back to playing hard,” said Murray about ending the regular season with two losses. “I don’t think we played exceptionally hard in those two games.” Rocklin’s Jake Anderson pitched five innings in the finale, allowing four runs, three earned runs and seven hits. Colin Sorenson (2-for-4, triple), Ben Peterson (1-2, run), Pat Stover (1-3, RBI, double) and Andrew Dilling (1-2, double) led the Thunder offense. Rocklin senior pitcher Chris Garrison pitched a one-hitter in the first loss to Del Oro but the offense never got going at all. Garrison (36.1 innings, 3.27 ERA, 43 strikeouts, 15 walks) was set to start against Burbank Wednesday. Thunder junior Stover (.409, four homers, 22 RBI) and senior Kyle Hudspeth (.404, four homers, 14 RBI) are both batting over .400 on the season.