Casa Grande alum Anthony Bender was the hero Sunday as Santa Rosa JC defeated visiting Cabrillo, 2-1, to advance to the sectional round of the California Community College State Tournament.
The No. 3 seeded Bear Cubs will travel to Stockton on Friday for a best-of-three series with No. 2 San Joaquin Delta.
Eight teams in the state are still alive. The four sectional winners, two from the northern part of the state and two from the south, will move on to the State Tournament which will be held May 24-26.
In Sunday's elimination game, Bender pitched five innings of scoreless relief and knocked in what turned out to be the winning run in the eighth inning.
The 6-foot-3 freshman's ground-rule double scored Weston Bryan with the go-ahead run.
Bryan opened the inning with a single and moved to second on a sacrifice bunt by Dane Erbst.
Like Bender, Bryan and Erbst played high school ball at Casa Grande.