MODESTO — Matt Brown has no idea why teams, year after year, look past Enochs High in the postseason.
Not that he's complaining, particularly after his Eagles defeated Lincoln of Stockton 6-2 in Monday's opening round of the Sac-Joaquin Section Division 1 playoffs.
Lincoln had lost four games all season two to Lodi and two to Tracy and was 10 runs short of a perfect regular season. The Trojans opened the year with a 1-0 victory over Turlock, which stands as the Bulldogs' lone loss, and Turlock awaited the winner of this game.
"Lincoln is a really good ballclub, but it also happened to us last year when teams looked past us and didn't throw their No. 1," said Enochs coach Matt Brown. "I don't know why that is, but we took care of business and we think we match up well against Turlock."
Perhaps Lincoln (22-5) was caught looking ahead, or perhaps Enochs (17-10) was just the better team on this day.
With Kyle Dunnegan on the mound, the latter possibility certainly was in play.
The senior righty hurled a complete game, allowing two unearned runs on four hits all singles while striking out six.
"I went all out, knowing that this would be my last game ever on my home field," Dunnegan said. "I left nothing behind. I just got ahead with sliders and fastballs."
So it will be Enochs advancing to face 25-1 Turlock on Wednesday at 4 p.m. at the University of the Pacific's Klein Family Field.
Or, as the Eagles have earned the right to call it Windemuth Field North. This will mark the fifth straight season Enochs will be concluding its season in the section tournament at Klein Field.
They know the way to Stockton, even though the Eagles don't yet know who they will send to the mound.
"Who knows? We have four or five guys and we'll sit down and come up with a plan, then see where we are tomorrow at practice," Brown said. "It's going to be a Johnny All-staff kind of game. It won't be one guy going Wednesday."
It certainly won't be Dunnegan, who relaxed after being staked to a 2-0 lead in the first inning.
Lincoln starter Dean Kremer had trouble finding the strike zone early. He walked three and had an error committed behind him as Enochs struck early.
"The two early runs settled us down," Brown said. "I think it settled Dunny down and it settled our hitters down."
Dunnegan took a no-hitter into the fourth, and stranded a Lincoln runner at second base by getting an infield pop up and a strikeout.
The Eagles then took control in the bottom of the inning when a one-out walk was followed by Zack Beal's opposite field double. One out later, Nikko Delgado's bunt single scored a run, then Cam Irinaga worked a walk to load the bases.
Mike McGhee Enochs' RBI leader in the regular season came to bat, looking for a first-pitch fastball.
He not only got it, but knew what to do with it. The junior third baseman hit a soaring off-field fly ball to right that rode the jetstream all the way to the base of the fence for a bases-clearing double.
"I was ready," McGhee said. "You have to go opposite way here. When I hit it, I didn't think it was going out, but toward the end I thought it was gone I'm not going to lie. It hit the bottom of the fence, so I took two."
Lincoln took advantage of errors to post single runs in the sixth and seventh, but Dunnegan remained in control through the final pitch, which induced a smooth 4-6-3 double play.
"Lincoln was definitely thinking about a game with Turlock and I made sure that wasn't going to happen," Dunnegan said. "I wanted to go back to UOP. We've been there a lot of years in a row and I wanted to finish my high school career there ride it out until the end."
Brian VanderBeek can be reached at (209) 578-2150 or follow him on Twitter, @modestobeek