April 23, 2008 > Renegades Baseball battling for playoff spot
Renegades Baseball battling for playoff spot
By Jordan Twohig and Biff Jones
Photos By Joaquin Luna
Ohlone College Renegades Baseball won in a dramatic fashion on Saturday, April 12, as they were able to overcome a 3-2 lead with two outs in the ninth inning to defeat San Jose City College on the Fremont Campus.
The Renegades entered their half of the ninth down 3-2. After San Jose retired the first two batters of the inning, Renegades shortstop Rich McDowell drew a two-out walk. Sophomore Matt Langseth followed that up with a walk of his own. Ohlone's Head Baseball Coach, Tom Kunis, brought in pitch hitter Aaron Plimmer to face San Jose City's starting pitcher Tyler Duran, who was still in the game. After taking two pitches from Duran, Plimmer hit a 1-1 pitch to the left center field gap scoring McDowell to tie the game 3-3, and advancing Langseth to third base. The next batter, Justin Lunday, fouled two fastballs straight back then found himself down 0-2 in count. Duran's next pitch was a slider in the dirt that Lunday swung at and missed, however the ball went through the legs of San Jose catcher Eddie Hsieh, rolling all the way to back stop. Lunday was able to safely advance to first base on the dropped third strike while Langseth came home from third to score the winning run.
"It was a great college game on both sides," said Kunis. "San Jose played very well, and I thought both sides pitched extremely well, it was a good win," he added.
Pitcher David Luna got the start for Ohlone and pitched five strong innings for the Renegades, allowing only one run on four hits. Luna was replaced by reliever Kevin Radach, who came into the game with runners at second and third. Radach walked the first batter he faced before proceeding to get a pop-up hit to second baseman Langseth, then striking out the next batter to end the threat. "Luna did a great job attacking down in the zone today," said Kunis. "Despite the walk to load the bases, I was very proud of the way Radach kept his poise and bailed us out of a potentially big inning for San Jose."
Ohlone sent sophomore pitcher Joe Gardner (4-5 on the year) to the hill in the seventh inning, and the 6'5" right-hander's performance really gave the Renegades a chance to come back in the ninth inning. Over three innings of work, Gardner struck out three batters while walking none. He allowed just one hit in the outing, to earn the victory for Ohlone
Ohlone was led offensively by Zach Townsend, who delivered a big two out RBI single to the right center gap that put the Renegades up 2-1 in the fourth inning. Townsend would finish the day 2 for 4. Lunday also delivered an RBI double in the game. Other Renegades that swung the bats well besides Langseth, McDowell and Plimmer were Braxton Miller and Aaron Chavez, who all contributed to the hit parade for Ohlone, with the big hit of the day coming from Plimmer. "Plimmer did a great job on getting a pitch he could handle and not trying to do too much with it," said Kunis. "He came through big for us."
Slam, big blow in win over first place San Mateo
Ohlone sophomore Shortstop Rich McDowell went 2 for 4, including a grand slam. As former Irvington High of Fremont pitcher, sophomore Shane Murchison (9-2 on the year) allowed just two runs and three hits over four innings pitched, on Tuesday, April 15, when the Renegades traveled to first place San Mateo of Coast Conference North and defeated them 9-3.
The Renegades (18-17 overall and 10-8 in conference play) have won three out of their last four games, and are currently in third place in the Coast Conference South Division. Murchison had a good outing striking out four Bulldog batters, while walking only one. Murchison earned his ninth win of the season to tie him for the most wins among all California Community College baseball teams.
Ohlone jumped to an early lead in the second inning as freshman Kevin Sherer hit a single to left field to drive in Lunday and give Ohlone the early 1-0 lead. San Mateo would answer back in their half of the second as outfielder Kainoa Klask hit a sacrifice fly to centerfield to score Brett Hart and even the score 1-1. The Bulldogs would take the lead 2-1 in the fourth after an RBI single from Beau Witsoe to centerfield scored Adam Chickman from second base.
The team came back in the fifth inning with a leadoff single by catcher Braxton Miller, and moved to second base following Sherer's sacrifice bunt. Sophomore Nick Caravelli then singled to right field putting runners on the corners for centerfielder Aaron Chavez. Chavez came through on a 2-1 count when he laid down a suicide squeeze bunt, scoring the run from third and moving the runner on first to second base as he collected the game tying RBI. After a passed ball to hitter Langseth moved Caravelli to third base, Langseth also laid down a nice bunt to score the run and beat the throw to first for a bunt single.
The Renegades would push another run across in the sixth when the Renegades put on a double steal, forcing San Mateo's catcher to make a throw to third base. The throw sailed high and the Ohlone runner was able to score on the error.
Ohlone reliever, Ian Hoff, replaced starter Murchison in the fifth. Hoff pitched extremely well while striking out two batters in his stint on the mound. The Renegades were able to put the game out of reach in the top of the seventh when Ohlone loaded the bases on a hit by Langseth and walks to Luna and Lunday. McDowell then hit the Grand Slam, his second home run of the season to make the score 8-2.
San Mateo would score one more run on an RBI single from Adam Chickman, but Ohlone would answer that run in the top of the ninth inning with a Michael Vandenbush RBI single to centerfield. Renegade closer, Kurtis Sherer, came on to pitch in the eighth and ninth to preserve the 9-3 win for Ohlone
Back to back losses drop Renegades to 500 pct in league play
On Thursday, April 17, Ohlone traveled to San Jose City College (SJCC) for a rematch with their league foe. SJCC came away with a measure of revenge when they pounded out a 19-7 victory over the Renegades. The field at SJCC has relatively short fences, and if pitchers do not keep the ball down, hitters can knock the ball out of the park for home runs. This is what happened to Ohlone and dropped their record to 10-9 in conference and 18-18 overall.
On Saturday, April 19, the Renegades hosted Coast Conference South, second place, Chabot of Hayward and one play basically decided the ball game. After Chabot opened the scoring with one run in the top of the first, Ohlone starting pitcher, Luna, kept the Gladiators of Chabot off the scoreboard until the sixth. Meanwhile, the Renegades tied the game, 1-1, with a run in the bottom of the fourth.
In the fateful sixth, Luna hit Chabot's number nine batter, Robbie Alvarez, with a pitch to start the inning and then gave up a single to leadoff hitter, Zack Cadet. With runners on first and second and nobody out in a tie game, Coach Kunis, expecting a bunt, put on the rotation play where the first and third baseman charge home, the second baseman covers first and the shortstop covers third. On the ensuing pitch from Luna, Chabot centerfielder, Ryan Lucas, laid down the bunt which was fielded by Luna.
However, Luna delivered the pitch before his middle infielders broke to cover their bases. Consequently, when Luna ill advisedly threw to first, the throw sailed over Langseth's head as he tried to cover first base. The result was a three base error that scored two runs and put Lucas on third with still nobody out. Luna then walked the next batter after allowing Lucas to score on a wild pitch to make the score 4-1. Gardner then relieved Luna and shut down Chabot the rest of the way, giving up no runs over the last four innings. Meanwhile, Ohlone could only muster one more run to give Chabot a 4-2 victory. Chabot starting left-hander, sophomore Ryan Fleckenstein, got the win with shutout relief help over the last three innings from sophomore Erik Stavert. Chabot's record improved to 17-3 in conference and 25-11 overall, while the Renegades are now 10-10 and 18-19.