File photo by Chris Burt
By Steve Ramirez, SGVN
BAKERSFIELD – There will be a time when the Rio Hondo College baseball team will look back at arguably the best season in school history and feel good about what it accomplished.
But not today.
Josh Silver had an RBI single and Phillip Roa an RBI double in the 12th inning and Cosumnes River College won its first California Community College Athletic Association state title Sunday with an 8-6 victory over Rio Hondo at Bakersfield College.
The Hawks finished 28-16 and secured the north’s third consecutive CCCAA title. It the first three-peat for the north since Fresno City won consecutive championships in 1961, ’62 and ’63.
The Roadrunners, getting five hits and an RBI from Andrew Stein and three hits and an RBI from former South Hills High standout Cody Doyle, finished 40-5. Rio Hondo’s accolades this season include winning 33 consecutive games from February to this weekend and going 24-0 in winning the Foothill Conference for the third time in three years.
This was the Roadrunners’ second trip to the CCCAA Final Four in three seasons and their first time in the championship game.
“This is disappointing for the next day or so,” Rio Hondo coach Mike Salazar said. “But it’s one game, and in the whole season we won 40.
“Yes, only one team can be happy when the season’s over, so disappointing right now. But as you look back on the whole (season) entirely our (guys) did a great job.”
Cosumnes River was just a bit better Sunday and responded like good teams do by escaping a bases-loaded situation in the 11th and winning it in the 12th.
Colby Brenner led off the final inning with a bunt single, stole second and scored on Silver’s RBI single to right center.
Silver went 3 for 6.
Roa, who went 3 for 6 with three RBIs, then doubled in Silver for an 8-6 lead.
Cosumnes’ Austin Ales, who was named Final Four MVP after getting a win on Friday and the save Sunday, closed it out. But Rio Hondo did threaten in the bottom of the inning.
Stein singled with one out but was doubled off first to end the game when first baseman Garrett Heisinger grabbed a Dominick Martinez’s liner and easily converted the double play.
“When you’re playing teams that are this good, anytime you make a mistake they’re going to take advantage of them,” Salazar said. “They did a great job. We left it all on the field. It was a great effort by both teams.
“Our guys played their butts off. It just didn’t go our way.”
Rio Hondo looked good early by taking a 4-1 after three innings and leading 5-2 through seven.
The Roadrunners led 1-0 in the first on an RBI single by Christian Ibarra (South Hills) before going ahead 2-0 in the second on a double by Dominique Davis (Bishop Amat) and an RBI single by Stein.
Doyle and Freddie Sanchez had RBI singles in the third to make it 4-1.
But it all fell apart in the eighth as Cosumnes River rallied for a 6-5 lead. Roa had a two-run double to make it 5-4 before Shawn Wheeler tied it with a sacrifice fly.
Heisinger followed with an RBI single to left for the 6-5 advantage.
Rio Hondo rallied to tie it 6-6 in its half of the inning on a walk to Sanchez, a double by Stein and an RBI fielder’s choice by Martinez.
The Roadrunners had a chance to win it in the 11th and force a second game. But, with the bases loaded, pinch-hitter Sam Medina grounded into a double play.
“Bases loaded, one out? That’s pretty big,” Salazar said. “If we score one run there, we win the game, and we’re state champs.”
Instead, Cosumnes River won it in the 12th.