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May 31, 2011 > Colts outlast Cougars, advance to NCS Semis

Colts outlast Cougars, advance to NCS Semis

By Jeff Weisinger, Photo by Mike Heightchew

Two conference rivals, playoff game, bottom of the seventh inning. It's only fitting to add that the song "Don't Stop Believing" by Journey played before the top of the seventh.

With the game tied at 4, James Logan High School reliever Pascual Flores came to the plate with a chance at redemption and took full advantage. Flores' RBI single sent the Colts to the North Coast Section (NCS) DI baseball semifinals in Logan's 5-4 win over Newark Memorial High School on Friday, May 27.

For most of the fans in Union City that night, it was torture. In the Logan dugout, it was just another chapter in their 2011 playoff run.

In Wednesday night's (May 25) playoff opener, fans saw a completely different Logan team that couldn't hit, however got a huge pickup from pitcher Brandon Yau, who tossed a complete-game, one-hit shutout, including an NCS-playoff-high 16 strikeouts in the Colts 2-0 win over Berkeley.

Friday night, the bats woke up against their MVAL rival Cougars.

"The hitting picked up a little bit," said Colts head coach John Goulding. "Pascual has been good all year. He's come through many times, so we felt really having him come on with the guy at second in the last inning."

The Colts lineup struggled a bit against Newark Memorial pitching. After Adrian Arroyo was relieved in the first inning with two outs, Newark's lefties Chris Flexon and Cal Stevenson held Logan to just two hits, leaving Logan to have to take advantage of their six walks they drew from the Newark staff on the night.

The struggles against left-handers are nothing new this season for the Colts, as three of their four losses in the regular season came against lefties.

"Chris Flexon's a very good pitcher and lefties have given us fits all year," Goulding mentioned. "We adjusted a little better and put the ball in play."

The Colts opened the scoring early, taking a 2-0 lead after the first off Alex Martinez's RBI single which followed Joe Armstrong's RBI single with one out.

Martinez also had a rocky night on the mound, allowing four runs, two earned, on four hits with nine strikeouts. He and Flores combined for 12 strikeouts on the night.

The Cougars clawed back into the game in the second inning against the starter Martinez after scoring on a wild pitch to cut the Logan lead to 2-1, and would tie the game at two-all after the top of the third inning.

Logan fired back with a pair of runs of their own in the bottom of the third off of an RBI double by Armstrong and Zach Vallejo's sacrifice fly.

After Newark tied the game at 4 in the top of the fifth, scoring on a double-play gone wrong as the throw to first was overthrown, Logan found themselves in the bottom of the seventh, needing just one run to win.

Flores pitched a clutch top of the inning after Newark put runners on first and second. He also received a huge out by Jason Puckett, who's diving catch kept the game tied at four with the game-tying run in scoring position.

Logan opened the bottom of the inning against Cougars lefty Cal Stevenson as Puckett drew a full-count walk. Stevenson intentionally walked Armstrong with one out to set up the potential for a double play to send the game into extras, however, Flores had other thoughts as he drilled a Stevenson fastball on the first pitch to left field, scoring Puckett from second to send Logan to the semis.

In one NCS Semifinals match-up, No. 8 Heritage High School, who upended top-seeded San Ramon Valley in the quarterfinals, will host No. 4 De La Salle High School. First pitch for that match is 5 p.m. on Tuesday, May 31. Logan will host the winner of No. 14 Bishop O'Dowd of Hayward Area Athletic League and No. 11 Irvington of the MVAL, whose game was suspended due to darkness in the 10th inning tied at 5. (The conclusion of the O'Dowd-Irvington match was on Monday, May 30. Results, however, were not available at press. Log onto http://sports.tricityvoice.com for up-to-date scores.) First pitch for the Logan-hosted semifinal is Wednesday, June 1, at 7 p.m.

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