Tracy High scored on a balk in the bottom of the eighth inning to defeat Gregori High 2-1 in the Sac-Joaquin Section Division I semifinal on Tuesday at Klein Family Field on the campus of the University of the Pacific.
Senior A.J. MacCaughtry, on in relief of starter Matt Dallas, gave up a single and a walk to the first two batters he faced, then allowed them to move ahead 90 feet on a wild pitch.
Ahead in the count 1-2 to No. 3 hitter Chandlyr Metal, McCaughtry was called for a balk and Josh Alvarado trotted home with the game-winning run.
With the loss, the Jaguars will take on St. Mary’s on Thursday at 7 p.m. back at Klein Family Field. To reach the section final against the North champion, Gregori (28-2) must now beat the Rams (18-10), which won seven consecutive South titles from 2009 to 2015, and then defeat Tracy (24-4), the reigning South champ, twice on Friday.
It’s a daunting task, to be sure, but Gregori already has defeated St. Mary’s in this year’s playoffs, beating the Rams 4-1 and knocking them into a loser’s bracket game with Pitman, which St. Mary’s won 3-2 on Tuesday. But since starting the year 26-0, the Jaguars have lost two of their last four. During that four-game stretch, Gregori, which spent much of the season leading the section in batting, has hit just .193 as a team.
Dallas, a Stanislaus District Player of the Year candidate, scattered four hits and struck out 10 while holding powerful Tracy to just one run. The Bulldogs lead the section in home runs with 24. By comparison, the Jaguars have hit three long balls this season.
But Bulldogs’ starter Matt Nunes matched Dallas pitch for pitch. The left-hander also allowed just four hits – none after the third inning – and fanned seven.
Tracy had an opportunity to push across the go-ahead run in the seventh, getting pinch-runner Paxton Andrade to second base with two outs, but Dallas fanned Christian Rosette to end the mini-threat.
The Jaguars opened the scoring in the top of the third when leadoff hitter Tyler Vandemark opened the frame by drawing a walk. He moved into scoring position on Zach McCoy’s sacrifice bunt and took third on a wild pitch. He trotted home on Colton MacCaughtry’s sharp single up the middle.
The lead was short-lived.
The Bulldogs opened the bottom of the third with a single from No. 8 hitter Garrett Cichella, and, just like Vandemark, he was sacrificed to second and took third on a wild pitch. He scored on Josh Alvarado’s ground out to short.
St. Mary’s 3, Pitman 2, at Stockton – Tyler Lozano’s walk-off RBI double lifted the Rams into a rematch with Gregori and ended the Pride’s season.
With the score knotted at 2, in the bottom of the seventh, Ramil Pinzon singled to center off reliever Brett Hagen. Chandler Sanguinetti sacrificed Pinzon to second and, after Charlie Johnson struck out, Lozano doubled to center for the game-winner. Lozano was 2 for 4 with a pair of RBIs.
Nick Jones was 2 for 4 with a pair of RBIs for the Pride. The Central California Conference co-champions end the season at 19-11. The Rams also ended the season for CCC co-champ Turlock on May 18.
Lincoln 7, Ceres 5, at Lodi – The Zebras scored three runs in the seventh inning and then overcame a one-out walk in the bottom of the frame to advance to Monday’s final at Tony Zupo Field. Lincoln awaits the winner of the Colfax-Placer matchup.
Offensively for the Bulldogs (23-7), Ismael Ontiveros and Blane Abeyta had two hits apiece, while Ontiveros and Ricky Lopez each drove in a pair of runs.
Vacaville Christian 4, Orestimba 0, at Stockton – Lucas Sweany tossed a no-hitter as the Falcons eliminated the Warriors (17-11). Vacaville Christian will play the winner of the Mariposa-Bradshaw Christian matchup for the D-VI title on Monday.
Sweany struck out 15 allowed just one walk, which came with one out in the seventh inning.
Valley Christian 9, Turlock Christian 4, at Sacramento – The Lions advanced to their 10th consecutive D-VII final with a win second consecutive win over the Eagles (12-7-1) at McAuliffe Memorial Ballpark. Valley Christian, the reigning champ, has won seven titles since 2008. The Lions will play Venture Academy for the title on Monday at a site to be determined.