May 10, 2011 > Renegades kick Butte in Regionals
Renegades kick Butte in Regionals
By Jeff Weisinger
"Lost for words." That would possibly be the best way to describe the 2011 State Regionals for both Fremont's Ohlone College and Hayward's Chabot College.
In the case of both the defending state champion Ohlone Renegades, and the Coast Golden Gate Conference champion Chabot Gladiators, this weekend should have been a change in the guard. Chabot seemed prime to ride their solid season to the state finals and Ohlone should've been just happy to barely win the Coast Pacific title despite needing help. But that's why they play the game.
The defending State champs entered their playoff opening series against Butte College winning six of their last seven straight. And in the Friday, May 6, opening game, it seemed as if the Renegades were carrying that momentum into the playoffs.
Right-hander George Asmus took the mound for Game 1 and handled the Butte lineup seemingly easily, carrying a no hitter through seven until Butte's five-run eighth inning knocked out Asmus' chance at the no hitter, and the win in the Renegades 5-3 loss. Ohlone had a 3-0 lead going into the eighth inning prior to the collapse. But as history as shown anyone who's watched the Ohlone Renegades play, it takes more than one game to knock out the resilient Renegades.
Ohlone head coach Julian Russell sent out ace pitcher Matt Fontaine in Game 2 Saturday, May 7, to keep the series alive and the sophomore did not disappoint, tossing a solid seven innings, allowing just one run on four hits while striking out seven in Ohlone's 4-2 win to keep the best-of-three series alive.
The Renegade lineup got a huge boost from catcher Joel Thys who went 2-3 with a run scored and Kainoa Crowell who's sacrifice RBI grounder to third in the first inning opened the scoring for the Renegades.
In game three, Ohlone took the momentum in full swing as sophomore Alika Pruitt shutdown the Butte lineup for seven innings and Crowell knocked around Butte pitching for five RBIs in the Renegades 10-5 series clincher.
Pruitt was working on a strong three-hit shutout going into the eighth inning when Butte tried to rally late again. Butte would capitalize on the bases loaded opportunity in the eighth, instead fighting back against the Ohlone bullpen, primarily reliever Scott Benton who was tagged for two runs on three hits through just two outs of the eighth (Pruitt was charged for three runs after Benton's entrance). Brandon Arata finished the game out, getting Ohlone out of a near-disastrous eighth inning, getting Brandon Evans to ground out to short to end the inning.
Ohlone added some insurance runs of their own in their half of the eighth inning as they hit relievers Adam Beller and Bla Reynolds for three runs in the eighth inning, two of which coming off Crowell's two-RBI double with two outs off Reynolds.
"Winning a doubleheader is hard," Russell explained. "I'm proud of these guys. They've fought back all year, but they've stayed together and did a great job. I'm speechless."
The win sets up a rematch of the 2010 State Final as the Renegades will take on the seventh-seed College of San Mateo on Friday, May 13, in the 2011 Super Regionals at Solano College in Fairfield.
On the other side, the grass wasn't necessarily greener on the other side for the black and gold of Chabot College. Chabot, entering the playoffs as the sixth seed taking on the 11th seed Sierra College that won eight of their last 10 games entering the postseason. Sierra simply dominated Chabot, outscoring them a combined 17-8 in the two-game sweep.
Chabot blew a 6-3 lead in game one as Sierra manhandled Chabot starter Mike Botelho for five runs in the sixth inning in Sierra's 11-6 win in Hayward on Friday. Botelho pitched six innings, allowing a total of nine runs (six earned) on 10 hits with six strikeouts and four walks. Sierra starter Josh Eagle fought back from the six runs in the first two innings as Chabot was held scoreless for the rest of the game.
Game Two on Saturday saw Sierra take the early opening 1-0 lead, and lead 2-1 after Chabot tied up the game in the third inning. However a pair of runs scored in the sixth against Glads starter Brandon Plotz sealed the deal for Sierra as the Chabot lineup was held to a dismal 4-32 at the plate in Sierra's series clinching 6-2 win. Chabot's season ends with a 25-11 record and much more promise than what was shown through the weekend.