LODI -- Even without his best stuff, the pitcher Calaveras High players call "Smooth" had enough to get a win Wednesday afternoon.
David Frater pitched a two-hitter as Calaveras defeated Gustine 9-0 in the first round of the Sac-Joaquin Section Division V playoffs at steamy Tony Zupo Field.
Calaveras will play Hughson on Saturday at 6 p.m., also at Zupo Field, in the first game of a best-of-three series. Hughson defeated Linden 5-0 in Wednesday's evening game.
Only two Gustine balls left the infield, and both came off the bat of Justin Zalinski. He doubled to left-center in the fourth -- he was out trying to stretch it into a triple -- and singled down the right field line in the sixth.
Frater, who blocked out cheers of "Let's go, Smoothy" or "Smoooth" from the crowd, struck out five and helped his own effort with a double and an RBI single. He scored twice.
"It was a little rough for me out there because I wasn't really hydrated," Frater said. "I couldn't get a good grip on the ball. I didn't have my best stuff, just enough to give us a chance."
Calaveras (17-8) held on to a 2-0 lead before scoring five runs in the top of the sixth. Gustine starter Ben Griset struck out seven in 5º innings, giving up four hits and three earned runs. The Gustine (15-9) defense made five of its six errors behind him.
"We just weren't putting the ball in play and making them play defense (at first)," Calaveras coach Mike Keopp said. "To our credit, and unfortunately to their demise, we started doing that. The last three or four innings we didn't strike out as much."
Jake Mote went 5 for 5 for Calaveras, with three doubles and four RBIs. After noting that he'd never had a hitting day quite like that, Mote said his last hit was his favorite -- a two-run double in the seventh that bounced at the base of the center-field wall, 378 feet from home plate.
HUGHSON 5, LINDEN 0 -- Archie Quay threw a four-hitter to lead the Huskies. The beaming junior praised his defense, which turned a double play and caught a runner stealing.
"I didn't strike one person out," Quay said. "That's fine with me. As long as the defense is playing behind me like that, I don't care."
Quay was particularly proud of shortstop Zack Adams, who struck out in the third, was in on every defensive out in the fourth, and delivered an RBI single in his next at-bat. Adams fielded a ground ball, stepped on second base and threw to third for a double play in the third, then snagged a line drive by Jeremy Collins to end the inning.
Jake Etcheverry and Aaron Stice each doubled and scored twice.
Quay said he could tell the Huskies (19-8) were going to play a good game before the first pitch.
"Early on, we were hitting waffles and there was this intensity," Quay said. "There was a focused look in everyone's eyes. I haven't seen that in our eyes this season."
Linden (13-10) stranded six batters. The Lions' biggest threat came in the sixth when James Lagorio tripled with two out. After a walk, Hughson right fielder Etcheverry made a sliding catch to end the game.