LODI — Pitmans Dakota Spillers is a No. 9 batter not to be overlooked.
Hitting out of the bottom of the order for the Pride, Spillers launched a towering fly ball over the left-field fence at Zupo Field for a fourth-inning grand slam to spark a 7-0 victory over Tokay on Monday in the Sac-Joaquin Section Division 1 baseball playoffs.
"I let a beautiful fastball go on the first pitch," Spillers said. "The second one was a curve or a cutter, and the next was a fast ball I just drove it. It felt so good."
An unconventional double play in the bottom of the first inning gave Pitman (15-12-1) some momentum that carried over into the second. With Alex Lew on third for the Tigers (17-4) and Kyle Rivers on first, a pitch got away from catcher Zach Gurr and rolled toward the backstop. Gurr covered the ball and fired a strike to pitcher Jordan Gonzales, who tagged out Lew. Gonzales in turn gunned down Rivers at second for the 2-1-6 double play.
"They should have scored on that," Pride coach John Acha said. "But Gonzo hustled his butt off to the plate and had the sense to turn around and throw to the shortstop."
Pitman loaded the bases with one out in the top of the second when following a groundout Gonzales reached on an error and Alex Sniezek and Armando Moreno both singled. Gonzales scored on a grounder to third by Gurr to make the score 1-0. In the fifth Byron Baxter came in on an RBI single by Alex Sniezek to make the score 2-0. Sniezek, Armando Moreno and Gurr scored on Spillers' grand slam.
Gonzales went into the seventh for the Pride and struck out seven, allowing two hits.
Pitman advances to play Beyer on Thursday at Pacific's Klein Family Field at 4 p.m.
LODI 11, GREGORI 1, at Lodi While the Gregori High baseball team's first trip to the Sac-Joaquin Section Division I playoffs may have ended in a mercy-rule loss at Zupo Field, the Jaguars accomplished something not many schools do by making it to the playoffs in the first year with seniors on the roster.
"We showed signs of our youth with four freshmen, two sophomores, two juniors and a senior," Gregori coach Rob Steves said after his team's 11-1 loss to Lodi. "I am proud of the boys.
"That's a good, well-balanced team and with a young team, we learned."
The Jaguars (13-14) got their lone run in the fourth inning. Tyler Janitz led off the frame with a single deep in the hole between shortstop and third base. Janitz advanced to third when Todd Stewart's single to shallow left was misplayed and came in on a sacrifice fly by Hunter Hayes to make the score 4-1.
It is not like Gregori had problems getting aboard other than in the fourth inning, it's just that all of those trips occurred with two outs. The Jaguars had three two-out singles Janitz had one in the first, Michael Olivarez had one in the second and Hector Guerrero hit one in the third. Guerrero reached base with two down in the fifth when he was hit by a pitch and advanced to second when Johnny Alstatt was walked only to have the inning end on a strikeout.
The Flames (18-10) scored in every inning, and in each inning but the first got the leadoff batter on base. Lodi tallied six runs in the fifth inning to end the game via the mercy rule and advance to play St. Mary's on Wednesday at Pacific's Klein Family Field at 7 p.m.
BUHACH COLONY 6, STAGG 1, at Atwater Thunder head coach Greg Wakefield gambled by opting not to throw his ace Daulton Jefferies. Instead, Wakefield handed the ball to Kaden Verdin, who went out and threw six no-hit innings as Buhach Colony defeated Stagg.
"From the first pitch Kaden was ready to compete," Wakefield said.
Verdin was brilliant, striking out nine hitters as he pitched around two walks and two errors.
The Buhach Colony junior was told he might get the start over the weekend. During lunch on Monday he found out for sure he would be on the mound in the elimination game.
The Thunder offense gave the 6-foot-7 Verdin a 2-0 lead early as Jefferies doubled and Josh Ramos singled to put two runners in scoring position in the bottom of the first.
Brandon Young hit a fly ball to left to score Jefferies and Justin Prichard singled in Ramos for the 2-0 lead.
The Merced Sun-Star contributed to this report.