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May 25, 2010 > Statewide sweep

Statewide sweep

Ohlone baseball sweeps through 2010 CCCAA State Tournament for program's first ever title

By Jeff Weisinger
Photos By Don Jedlovec

Similar to the school they represent, the Ohlone College baseball team is on top. Not just on the top of the hill, but on top of the California baseball world.

Ohlone's baseball team defeated the College of San Mateo Bulldogs, 16-10, in the CCCAA 2010 State Championship final in Fresno on Sunday, May 24, to clinch Ohlone College's first State championship of any sport in school history.

"I could not be more proud of our coaches and players for the season they have put together," said Ohlone coach Jordon Twohig, who brought Ohlone to its first state championship in just his second season.

The Renegades breezed through the first two games, as Roberto Padilla threw a hitless six innings in Ohlone's 13-0 win over Southern California's top-seed El Camino College on Friday, May 21, and both Zach and Jeff Johnson drilled back-to-back homers in an 11-2 win over Rio Hondo on Saturday, May 22, to reach Sunday's final.

However, Sunday's win didn't come as easy against rival San Mateo, who came in as the top-seed from Northern California.

This should come to no surprise as Ohlone has had to comeback twice in both wins against the Bulldogs during the regular season.

Yet, as powerful as the Renegades have been throughout the state finals up until Sunday's match-up, it would be the Bulldogs firing the first shots against Ohlone and starter Mark Fontaine, scoring six runs in the second, ignited by Thomas Wood's two-run single that brought home Trevor Pasiecznik and Joey Wallace. Nick White's RBI single capped the Bulldog's six-run inning.

However, like they have done all season, the Renegades struck back, and did so quickly.

Ohlone designated hitter Jeff Johnson began his MVP day by getting Ohlone on the board with a three-run homer off Bulldog starter Devin Bradley, cutting Ohlone's deficit to 6-4.

Fontaine would respond to the charge by his lineup as he would retire San Mateo in order in the top of the fourth. Fontaine would finish the day going just five innings on the mound, allowing seven runs on eight hits with five strikeouts.

After the Bulldogs went up 7-5 in the top sixth inning of Ryan Allgrove's RBI bunt, the Renegades stormed back in the bottom of the inning, beginning with a sacrifice fly by Michael Di Rocco and another RBI single by Cody Foster to tie the game at seven.

Then, after Zach Johnson walked to load the bases, twin brother Jeff launched a 2-2 pitch that would be heard around the state, putting Ohlone up 11-7 off a towering grand slam, his fourth home run of the tournament, highlighting a six-run sixth-inning rally.

Jeff Johnson's grand-slam to take the lead against the Bulldogs marks the second time this season that Ohlone has rallied back against San Mateo and taken the lead via a grand slam. Ryan Walterhouse did it against the Bulldogs back in late February in Ohlone's 10-9 win at San Mateo.

As the four-run third sparked Fontaine in the fourth, Johnson's sixth-inning grand slam sparked left fielder Steven Ramos, who made two sensational diving plays in the top of the seventh, preventing two bases hits for San Mateo.

Ramos also sparked a four-run seventh inning as he scored from first of a failed pickoff attempt. He would catch the final out of the game off a fly ball from a pitch by Padilla, sending Ohlone home with the title.

"All year, starting in the fall, I told the team that if we bought into the system collectively as a group, there would be no stopping us," Twohig added.

The Renegades scored 11 or more runs in each of the three state tournament games and Sunday's game also marked the second time in state championship history, the first since 1992, that two Northern California teams played for the state title.

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