STOCKTON -- Matt Thissen nearly jinxed his boys.
After watching six of his first seven batters cross home plate with a run, the Golden Valley assistant baseball coach came close to calling it a lock.
A done deal.
"Six runs should be enough for Trevor (Cesar)," Thissen whispered along the first-base line. "I hope."
It almost wasn't.
Golden Valley erupted for eight runs in the first inning and then overcame Cesar's roughest start in three seasons to knock Tracy out of the Sac-Joaquin Section Division I playoffs.
Stefan Arnsberg, Phillip Greenberg and Jeff Spinardi drove in two runs apiece in Golden Valley's wild 8-5 victory on Wednesday at Klein Family Field.
Cesar got the win, but didn't want it. Instead, he gave it to Ralf Vasquez, who pitched five innings of long relief, and an army of hitters.
"I feel lucky," Cesar said. "I didn't deserve this one. This win doesn't belong to me -- it belongs to Ralfie and the guys."
Golden Valley's supporting cast shined under the lights.
Garrett Borba ignited GV's big first inning with an infield double that landed within feet of the pitcher's mound.
Jordan Locke followed two batters later with an RBI single -- kicking off a run of five consecutive base hits, including back-to-back two-run singles by Greenberg and Spinardi.
Alex Fletcher (double), Borba (single) and Arnsberg (single) also drove in runs as Golden Valley jumped out to an 8-0 lead.
In a shocking twist, Cesar nearly gave it all away.
The Duke-bound senior gave up four runs on two hits and five walks in just two innings -- easily his shortest start of the season.
Cesar battled control -- and his lunch, too, it seems -- from the beginning.
He started the game with eight consecutive balls, surrendered back-to-back doubles and later walked the bases loaded with two outs in the second inning.
"It wasn't nerves," Cesar said. "I wasn't feeling well before the game and I thought it got better, but I couldn't get into a groove.
"I can't really explain it. I guess it was just bound to happen."
The win sets up a playoff rematch with Beyer -- a 12-2 winner over West -- on Monday at 4 p.m.
Golden Valley (18-9) knocked Beyer out of the playoffs last season with an 11-inning victory.
Division VII Baseball
BIG VALLEY CHR. 6, STONE RIDGE CHR. 3, at Lodi -- The Lions (10-8) had seven consecutive singles during their five-run fourth inning uprising that gave them a 6-2 lead over the Knights (24-5).
All 10 of Big Valley's hits were singles.
BVC starter Tucker Richardson left after walking the bases loaded in the seventh, and Mike Diggory got the final out on a grounder to second.
Richardson finished with nine strikeouts and four walks.
Division VII Softball
BIG VALLEY CHR. 16, STONE RIDGE CHR. 2 (5), at Lodi -- Catcher Christina Azevedo of the Lions (7-9) had a bases-loaded triple in their 14-run fifth inning and finished with five RBIs and scored three runs. Leah Layman allowed Stone Ridge (10-3) just three hits.
Division III Tennis
ESCALON 5, COLFAX 2, at Escalon -- Robby Hoyle and Daniel Thompson rallied in No. 1 doubles, sparking the Cougars to a semifinal victory. Hoyle and Thompson faced multiple match points in the second set, fought back to force a tiebreaker, and went on to defeat Josh Parker and Justin Witt 3-6, 7-6 (4), 6-4.
Bee staff contributed to this report.