Empire baseball: Cardinal Newman, Piner win NBL tournaments

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Cardinal Newman won the North Bay League-Oak Division with just two losses this year and carried its winning ways through the postseason tournament for a second honor on Friday.

The host Cardinals downed Maria Carrillo, 8-1, in the title game Friday night to add NBL-Oak tournament champions to their resume.

Next up, the North Coast Section playoffs. Teams will find out their seedings Saturday and first-round games will be Tuesday and Wednesday.

Coach Derek DeBenedetti said his team is playing cohesively at this critical time. He expects the Cardinals to win a top 1 or 2 seed.

“Today was a complete-team win. Gianni (Cavallo) pitched a tremendous game, but we had hits all up and down the lineup, quality at bats up and down the lineup. Everyone contributed to this win and eve contributes to our success, and that’s what’s important at this point.”

On Friday, Newman took a 2-0 lead in the first inning with a two-out solo home run by Jordan Herrfeldt and an Andrew Lombardi RBI single.

They extended the lead to 3 when Shane Moran tripled in Ian Sullivan, who’d singled to lead off the fifth.

Carrillo’s only run came in the sixth when Bryce Veler’s sacrifice fly scored Chris Latorre.

Newman blew the game open with five runs in the bottom of the sixth on four hits, two walks and a hit batsman.

Cavallo pitched six innings, scattering five hits and allowing only one run.

“He was effective and kept hitters off-balance,” DeBenedetti said. “He was mixing up his pitches, threw three or four pitches for strikes. (Carrillo) is a tough team, and they had runners on base in several innings, but he was able to pitch out of situations.”

Newman finishes the regular season 20-6 after a 13-2 NBL-Oak year. Carrillo falls to 16-10 and 9-6 in the NBL-Oak.

PINER 4, WINDSOR 2

Piner and Windsor met four times this season, with Windsor winning the first two and Piner the next.

With the final one, a 4-2 win on Friday, the Prospectors won the North Bay League-Redwood Division tournament title.

Visiting Piner jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the top of the first on a leadoff single and two infield throwing errors.

Windsor got one back in the bottom of the inning after Ian McGee doubled to left-center and Joseph Soltanizadeh’s sacrifice fly to right brought him home.

The Prospectors took advantage of another Jaguar error in the fourth to go up 4-1. Alex Tamayo scored on an overrun in the outfield and Mason Steele came around on a Jose Luna hit to right.

Windsor threatened in the bottom of the seventh, with a Trent Matthews leadoff single, followed by an infield error to set up runners on first and third with no outs. Soltanizadeh singled home Matthews, but the Jags left the tying runs on base with the final two outs.

Windsor won the division title with a 10-2 record, while Piner placed second at 9-3, losing twice to the Jags.

The teams find out Saturday what their seeds will be in the North Coast Section playoffs.

As league champ, Windsor, 15-7-1, is likely to start out with a home game, Piner coach Nick Green said. He expects his Prospectors, 16-8, to be a mid-range seed.

First-round games will be Tuesday and Wednesday.

You can reach Staff Writer Lori A. Carter at 707-521-5470 or lori.carter@pressdemocrat.com.

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