Both San Bernardino Valley College baseball coach Bill Mierzwik and Rio Hondo counterpart Mike Salazar have crunched the numbers. Their teams are among the three vying for the one last playoff spot behind Foothill Conference-frontrunner Chaffey.
Salazar think his team needs to win four of its last six, while Mierzwik said his needs five of six.
It was the Roadrunners creeping closer to their goal, blasting SBVC 15-3 Thursday at Arrowhead Credit Union Park in the opener of a three-game set.
Rio (21-15, 14-4), which has won eight straight games, was in control from the start, pushing across four in the first frame off Wolverines starter Tommy Bills (6-1). It didnt get any better, as the Roadrunners added to that lead the next five innings. They were never set down in order.
This gets us off to a good start, Salazar said. We never come in expecting to slug it out with someone but today we had some things fall in and we were able to build on that.
Rio got an infield hit by Kevin Mort and winning pitcher Leo Madrid (5-2) walked with one out. Matt Smoley then hit a fly ball that was badly misplayed by left fielder Dwight Robinson. Two runners scored and Smoley coasted into third. It was 4-0 before Bills got out of the inning.
While the game turned into a rout, Mierzwik said that inning set the tone.
We make that catch and we get out of the inning, he said. It changes the inning because your pitcher throws 15 pitches instead of 30. He gets out of that inning and it gives him some confidence, the rest of the team feels better. You never know.
The visitors led 7-2, then added four more in a fourth that featured the ejection of Mierzwik and assistant Rene Leal. Dominick Guerrero, the third pitcher of the day, had come in after Trent Veleker walked the first two.
After a 2-0 count to Willie Sandez, home plate umpire Barry Sosa began exchanging words with coaches in the SBVC dugout, who thought their pitchers were being squeezed.
Sosa first tossed Leal, then Mierzwik, probably the most even-tempered of the seven coaches in the SBVC dugout. Mierzwik said it was just the second time he had been tossed in 18 years. He took in the rest of the game from the press box.
I know you cant argue balls and strikes. I didnt say anything to him. I was talking to my catcher, he said.
The rest of the game was just a formality. It took two hours to get through the first two innings. SBVC used six pitchers who surrendered a total of 15 hits. Every starter had a hit and eight of nine scored at least a run. Smoley led the Roadrunners, going 2-for-3 with four RBI and three runs scored. He also walked four times. Ian Kammerer had three hits, three runs scored and two RBI.
Madrid went six innings before giving way to Chris Dorado. Sal Ramirez went the last two innings.
SBVC was led by Zach Baker with two hits – a double and a triple. Adrian Carmona stroked a solo home run in the fourth.
The teams will play a doubleheader at Rio Hondo at noon saturday.
It was a tough way to start but we can still reach our goal, Mierzwik. Of course it would be a lot easier if we didnt lose the first game.
SBVC finishes the season with a series against Cerro Coso while Rio finishes with College of the Desert, the other team in the playoff hunt.