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May 3, 2011 > Renegades ready to defend state title

Renegades ready to defend state title

By Jeff Weisinger

Like rapper LL Cool J once said, "Don't call it a comeback." In the case of the Ohlone Renegades baseball team, it was business as usual. At least until Cody Demara caught the pop fly at third, then it was a quick party.

Thursday's 10-3 season finale win over Skyline wasn't anything close to a nail-biting comeback. It did, however, finish off a much bigger fight: one for a third-straight Coast Conference-Pacific title, let alone Ohlone's third consecutive playoff appearance.

The Renegades opened their 2011 title defense year winning just one of their first four games, and see-sawed around a .500 record for a majority of the season, never exceeding four straight wins, following that with a loss or two. But Thursday proved that when needed, Ohlone baseball can flip the switch.

"I'm proud of them sticking through the whole season, believing in each other and finishing strong," said first-year Ohlone head coach Julian Russell. "We're confident, not cocky and we're playing nice and loose. We're playing good team baseball right now."

Sophomore ace Matt Fontaine took the mound and pieced apart the Trojans lineup, going eight innings on the mound, allowing just two runs (one earned) on five hits with seven strikeouts.

"We knew early on that pitching was going to be our go-to throughout the season," Russell added. "They've kept us in every game. We scrap across a few runs and we know we have a chance."

The young Ohlone lineup may have given Fremont a preview of what's to come in the postseason, as they scrapped up a few runs against Skyline starter Dan Molieri, lighting him up for three runs in the third inning, knocking Molieri out of the game with just one out in the third. Molieri would go just 2 1/3 innings allowing those three runs on just four hits before Dennis Tupper could get Skyline out of the third.

Outfielder Ryan Tella, who is among the top ten in California in batting average, had another solid game, going 3-4 at the plate with a two RBIs, including a solo home run in the fifth inning to push Ohlone's lead to 6-0.

"He's been huge for us. He's our spark," Russell said.

After Skyline scored a pair of runs against Fontaine in the eighth, the Renegades answered back with three runs of their own off Christian Richards' RBI single and Rich Bermudez's RBI double with two outs in the inning.

Although this one didn't come so easy, Ohlone's third straight title also marks the third straight year that the Renegades will host the Regionals in Fremont starting this weekend. Ohlone enters the postseason winners of six of their last seven, or as they'll say, getting hot at the right time.
Chabot 14, Mission 9
In the other half of the Coast Conference, the Chabot Gladiators locked up their conference title in their 14-9 win over Mission College on Thursday, just edging out a fighting College of San Mateo by a game for the conference title.

The Chabot lineup, like it has just about all season, showed their firepower in Santa Clara, rocking Mission starter for eight runs, getting three of them in the first inning. Craig Massoni opened the scoring for the Glads on his RBI single up the middle, scoring Brian Hamm who walked four times on the day.

Chabot completely took over in the fourth inning, scoring five runs highlighted by a pair of RBI doubles by Sean Barrie and Jake Whitney, and Marc Wik's RBI single down the left field line as Chabot went on to take a commanding 8-0 lead after the fourth.

Mission began to fight back against Chabot starter Brandon Plotz in the fifth inning, scoring on a three-run home run by David Garcia. That would be Plotz's only big mistake as he pitched 5 1/3 innings, allowing four runs on nine hits with four strikeouts and two walks.

Track and Field
Chabot's Don Pearson won the 2011 Coast Conference Track and Field Championship in the men's long jump at San Jose City College on Tuesday, April 26. His winning jump of 23-4.5 qualified him for the Northern California Track and Field Championships at Modesto Junior College on May 6. Bruce Guillory also qualified for the NorCal Championships, placing third in the javelin with a toss of 153-7.

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