Modesto's Beyer, Turlock gearing up for Sac-Joaquin Section baseball playoffs

Baseball teams to scout playoff foes before

jcortez@modbee.comMay 9, 2013 

— Two coaches. Two championship teams. Two different approaches.

Turlock High's veteran baseball coach Mark de la Motte is sending a scouting contingent to watch Monday's Sac-Joaquin Section Division 1 outbracket game between Enochs and Lincoln of Stockton.

Beyer High's first-year coach, Dom Duran, is himself leading the scouting party to watch Pitman and Tokay of Lodi.

For de la Motte, who will stay in Turlock to lead practice Monday, there's really not much to see. His Bulldogs beat Enochs 10-2 and 9-2 in two meetings, and Lincoln ...

Well, Lincoln used an unearned run to beat Turlock 1-0 in the season opener and the 'Dogs haven't lost since, running off 25 in a row en route to the Central California Conference title.

"We thought we tied that game in the sixth inning," de la Motte said. "But there was a close play at first and the runner was called out."

If safe had been the call, a runner on third would've scored and Turlock might be a handful of wins from a perfect season.

Either way, the Bulldogs will open the postseason Wednesday at 4 p.m. at Klein Family Field on the University of the Pacific in Stockton.

Will the pressure of a 25-game winning streak weigh on the Bulldogs as the playoffs set to open?

"It did build on us a little bit," said de la Motte, whose team has won the section's south title on three occasions (1987, 1990, 1997).

"We know we can't always play at our best, but we've always pitched really well and we get a lot of easy defensive plays because of our pitching.

"We know we can beat anybody and we know anybody can beat us."

Duran, who replaced Mitch Munthe as the Patriots' coach this year, guided the Pats to the Modesto Metro Conference title and a 10th playoff berth in the last 11 seasons.

Unlike de la Motte, Duran won't be needed at practice Monday since he gave his players the day off.

"I didn't even tell my players about Monday's game," said Duran. "They can get intimidated sometimes, so I don't want them thinking about either team."

Like Turlock, Beyer already has faced their potential opponent. The Patriots defeated Tokay 3-2 on March 14 at Beyer, and lost to Pitman 5-3 at the Windemuth tournament on April 2.

"That was a long time ago and we've really evolved as a team since then," said Duran.

Duran's club boasts a deep pitching rotation that includes sophomore ace Micah Hall — a lanky right-hander who has 57 strikeouts in 57 innings pitched this season — junior Mark Ackerman and senior lefty Trey Ridenour.

Leading the offense for Beyer is senior catcher Dempsey Grover, who hit .433 with a .578 on-base percentage. Grover will play at UC Santa Barbara next year.

Other Division 1 postseason matchups include:

• Gregori High, the third-place team in the MMC, faces Lodi in a 4 p.m. game Monday in Lodi.

• Buhach Colony, the runner-up in the CCC, plays host to Stagg of Stockton at 4 p.m. in Atwater.

DIVISION 4

• Wednesday at Lodi's Tony Zupo Field: Valley Oak League runner-up Manteca takes on El Dorado of Placerville at 4 p.m; Western Athletic Conference champion Central Catholic hosts Sierra, the third-place finisher in the Valley Oak League, at 7.

• Thursday at Tony Zupo: VOL champ Oakdale has a 7 p.m. game against the winner of Central Valley and Cosumnes Oaks, who play Monday at 4 in Elk Grove; Ceres takes on Vista del Lago of Folsom at 4.

DIVISION 5

• Wednesday at Stockton's Billy Hebert Field: Trans-Valley League runner-up Escalon faces Mother Lode League No. 2 Summerville at 4 p.m.; TVL No. 3 Hughson faces Capital Christian at 7.

• Thursday at Billy Hebert: TVL champion Escalon will play a 7 p.m. game against the winner of Monday's outbracket game between Calaveras and Lindhurst.

DIVISIONS 6 & 7

• Monday in Le Grand, the Bulldogs host Foresthill in a D-6 outbracket contest at 4 p.m.

• Tuesday at Tony Zupo: Southern League runner-up Ripon Christian takes on Forest Lake Christian at 4 p.m.

• Tuesday at Billy Hebert: SL champion Mariposa faces Vacaville Christian at 4 p.m.

• Wednesday at McAuliffe Memorial Ballparks in Sacramento, Brookside Christian, champ of the Central California Athletic Alliance, plays Faith Christian at 4 p.m. in a D-7 opener.

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