It knocks the Bulldogs out of the Sac-Joaquin Section Division I South playoffs and sets up a rematch Thursday night between Lincoln and St. Mary’s in the championship game. St. Mary’s won the second round matchup 8-1 over Lincoln on Saturday night.
The loss concludes a season that saw Tracy go 22-9, including two post-season wins against Grace Davis and Golden Valley, a loss to the Tri-City Athletic League co-champion St. Mary’s on Tuesday, and Wednesday’s loss to the San Joaquin Athletic Association champion Trojans.
It was the last high school game for nine seniors on the team. Even without wins against Lincoln and St. Mary’s in the last two games the Bulldogs met one goal when they beat Modesto Metro League champions Grace Davis to get through the opening round of playoffs.
“Every year we set the bar higher and higher and we knew coming out we knew that playoffs was our main goal,” senior catcher and pitcher Kyle Hassna said. “We tried to go deeper than last year.”
Senior pitcher and first baseman Preston Mattos said that a run for the section championship ends his senior year on a high note.
“I’m just happy about how we got better as the year went on,” he said. “We did good in league. We split with Lincoln, which is the team that won league. It showed that we’re one of the better teams in our league and can play with anyone.”
Daniel Heefner hoped to improve on his pitching after a successful junior year, but shoulder surgery earlier this year meant that he would have to go easy on his throwing arm, so he played mostly at first and third base.
“I’m proud about getting this far,” he said. “I would have liked to come back to have a great season pitching but I had to come back and contribute in a different way.”
On Wednesday The Bulldogs outhit the Trojans, but had trouble bringing those runners around the bases. With eight base hits for the night, seven walks and one batter hit by a pitch, Tracy left nine base runners stranded – including three in the second inning, two in fifth and two more in the seventh – while another was picked off at first base.
Lincoln left just four batters on base after the Trojans collected six base hits, eight walks, two batters hit by pitches, and a batter who reached on an infield error.
The Trojans got on base in the bottom of the first with a walk and a single, with runs scored on a wild pitch and a sacrifice fly. Lincoln tried to get into scoring position again when Jordan Enos singled and Joey Yamuni walked.
Tracy dealt with that threat when Enos tried to steal third, but saw Hassna throw the ball from behind the plate to third baseman Ricky Diaz. It turned into a rundown, and Diaz chased Enos back toward second base, made the tag, and then fired the ball to Heefner at first base after Yamuni strayed too far from the bag and got caught in another rundown. Right fielder Tanner Turner ran in to cover first and make the tag.
In the second Tracy loaded the bases on a walk for Heefner, Tyler Silva reached on fielder’s choice and Robert Emerson singled to right field. Turner hit one up the middle to bring in Heefner and Kyle Moses hit a shot into left field to bring in Silva and Emerson and take the lead.
Lincoln scored another in the third after two batters reached on walks and Enos singled. Tracy took the lead again when Turner hit one out to deep left-center and sprinted around the bags for a triple. Turner scored when Moses hit one out to the center field fence, but was out as center fielder Nick Rosso made the catch on the warning track.
In the six-run fourth inning the Trojans used the hit-and-run and took advantage of Tracy errors as the Bulldogs went after the lead runners. Two infield errors allowed Lincoln to advance and score two in the fourth, and a missed throw to first with two out gave the Trojans a chance to score two more. Lincoln’s Jordan Enos then came up to hit a two-run home run over the right-center fence.
Tracy scored another in the fifth when Diaz doubled, advanced on a wild pitch and came home on another wild pitch.
In the bottom of the fifth Lincoln’s Brandon Gildea reached on a walk and headed for home on Stevie Robinson’s double to right-center field. The throw to catch Gildea at the plate went wide. Robinson made it to third and then scored on a sacrifice fly, where Tracy outfielder Robert Emerson went after a ball hit down the left field line and made the catch.
Tracy’s last chance came in the seventh when Diaz and Hassna walked, and Diaz reached third when Heefner hit a grounder to second, and came home when Silva hit a ground ball to first base.
• Contact Bob Brownne at 830-4227 or email@example.com.