SHINGLE SPRINGS — If the Oak Ridge High baseball team was going to win a share of the Delta River League title, the Trojans needed to have a big day at the plate against league and intra-county rival Ponderosa.
Oak Ridge banged out 12 hits and winning pitcher Ryan Sullivan holding league and intra-county rival Bruins to four hits for an 8-4 win on Wednesday at the Bruins’ field.
The Trojans’ victory gives them a share of the league title with Pleasant Grove, which beat Jesuit, 10-4 in their league finale. In head-to-head competition, Oak Ridge (12-3, 19-8) won two of three games over Pleasant Grove, thus earning the league’s No. 1 seed for the Sac-Joaquin Section Division I playoffs and first round bye.
Now Oak Ridge will play Wednesday, May 15 against the winner of the Monticello Empire League No. 2/Delta Valley Conference No. 3 seed Franklin, which takes place on Monday, at Sacramento City College at 7 p.m.
In the top of the first inning, Oak Ridge’s Alec de Watteville (4-for-5, two RBIs, two runs) tripled and scored on Mickey Meinhofer’s single for a 1-0 lead. The Trojans had two of their dozen hits in that frame.
Oak Ridge scored its next two runs in the top of the second inning off one hit. Chris Roppolo walked and later scored on a passed ball. De Waterville singled and scored on Mickey Meinhofer’s sacrifice fly for a 3-0 lead.
The Trojans took a 6-0 lead in the top of the third with three runs off four singles from Ross Dwelley, Brogan Cooper, FP Santangelo and de Watteville. Logan Denholm walked and scored in the frame.
“Our kids were loose and confident,” Oak Ridge head coach Todd Melton said. “These guys know what’s at stake. They performed quite well.”
But the Bruins battled back to make it a 6-2 in the bottom of the third. Brett Pankow and Ryan Carey were issued back-to-back walks and scored Matthew McBride’s single and Matthew Poulin’s sacrifice fly respectively.
“We’ve worked on not giving up,” Ponderosa head coach Tyler Graham said.
Oak Ridge scored its last two runs of the game in the top of the fifth inning. Cooper led off the frame with a triple and scored on Santangelo’s single. Roppolo reached base on a fielder’s choice and scored on Meinhofer’s sac fly.
Ponderosa responded again with two runs in the bottom of the fifth inning. Carey singled and after a walk, Poulin’s double to center field scored two.
Sullivan, a sophomore, gave up four hits in the game. Connor Davis pitched the final 2 1/3 innings, striking out four Bruin batters.
“He’s been great all year,” said Melton of Sullivan. “I like the way he competed out there.”
Grabbing the Delta River League title and its No. 1 seed for the playoffs was a great feeling shared among the Trojans after the game.
“We’re living for the moment right now,” Melton said. “We just played well down the stretch.”
Six Ponderosa senior players were honored as part of Senior Day on the Bruins’ league and regular season finale. Those players were Boyle, McBride, Joe Silvestri, Poulin, Jacob Bist and Troy Zeier,
Oak Ridge 2, Ponderosa 1
The Bruins outhit the Trojans, 6-4, in Tuesday’s league game in El Dorado Hills. But Oak Ridge scored its only runs early and halted a Ponderosa rally late in the game for the win.
In the bottom of the second inning, Dwelley and Denholm singled. Then Santangelo singled that drove in Dwelley. On the same play, Denholm was held up at third base but a throwing error that sent him to touch the plate.
Ponderosa scored its lone run in the top of the fifth inning. Ian Boyle smoked a hard grounder down the third base line and moved to second on a fielder’s choice by Logan Tonge. Then Pankow hit a deep single to right field to drive in Boyle. Pankow tried to score but was thrown at home plate for the third out of the inning.
In the top of the sixth inning, the Bruins’ Shae McLinden reached first base on an Oak Ridge error with two outs. But the Trojans recorded the final out to end the frame.
Carey had two hits for Ponderosa. Denholm had the fourth hit for Oak Ridge.
On the mound, Michael Green went the distance for the Bruins, fanning four Trojan batters and allowed two walks. Tommy Hummer also went the distance for Oak Ridge, striking out four Bruin batters and allowed no walks.
Both teams combined for three errors; the Bruins had two and the Trojans one.
Eight Oak Ridge seniors were honored as part of Senior Day on the Trojans’ field after the game, playing their final regular home game of the season. Those players were Logan Marston, John Rico, Dwelley, Santangelo, Evan Gross, Hummer, de Watteville and Trevor Callahan.
Contact Mike Bush at 530-344-5079 or [email protected] Follow @MBushMtDemo on Twitter.