Santa Rosa Junior College’s baseball team has faced four elimination games in the CCCAA State Tournament over the past two weekends and each time has survived.
The Bear Cubs did it again Sunday by defeating visiting Folsom Lake, 7-1, to win the best-of-three Super Regionals. The previous weekend, Santa Rosa was pushed to the brink of elimination by Reedley and had to pull out a doubleheader sweep to advance.
Round 3 of the tournament will find the top-seeded Bear Cubs home again for another best-of-three series. The opponent will be No. 10 Chabot (27-13).
The first game is Friday followed by one on Saturday and if necessary, another elimination game on Sunday.
In the finale against Folsom Lake, Santa Rosa got solid pitching and put the game away with a five-run third inning.
The Falcons managed only four hits against three Bear Cubs hurlers. Starter Matt Estes, Montgomery grad Jared Noonan and former Casa Grande star Anthony Bender each went three innings. Bender finished with a flourish, striking out six.
“It’s great when things go according to plan,” head coach Damon Neidlinger said. “We asked three pitchers to give us three innings each and we wanted the guys to come out swinging the bats. That’s the way it turned out.”
George Foster began the third inning with a double and Myles Andrews, who prepped at Maria Carrillo, followed with a single. Both scored on Bryce Nagata’s base hit to center field. Later in the inning, Ryder Kuhns and Rancho Cotate grad Jeff Bart had run-scoring hits.
The Bear Cubs banged out 12 hits with Andrews, Foster, Bart and Kuhns accounting for two each.
Santa Rosa (33-8) scored its other two runs in the fifth while Folsom Lake got one in the sixth.
Foster, a Cardinal Newman graduate, said his big hit in the third came on a fastball near the middle of the plate.
“I was looking for a fastball,” he said. “When I saw one, I didn’t hit it square but was able to hit it down the left field line.”
Newman said facing elimination games hasn’t put added pressure on the team.
“We’ve been keeping our cool,” he said. “We concentrate on one game at a time and focusing on our goal.”
That goal is to win the state title.
Box score on page B4