High School Baseball: Sage riding current

Lightning upset No. 4-seeded Vasquez and surge into CIF Division VI semifinals. Top-seeded Desert Christian is next.

May 29, 2010|By Barry Faulkner

NEWPORT COAST — Most of the Sage Hill School seniors will enjoy a class rafting trip to the American River early next week. But the nine seniors on the Lightning baseball team will be otherwise engaged in a unprecedented adventure of their own.

The host Lightning upset No. 4-seeded Vasquez, 6-5, in their first CIF Southern Section Division VI quarterfinal appearance Friday. The win propels the most successful team in Sage Hill history (20-5) into Tuesday's semifinal against top-seeded Desert Christian.

Desert Christian (25-1) will take the long bus ride to try to extend its winning streak to 19. The Knights, who entered Friday's quarterfinal with a team earned-run average of 1.86, have outscored teams, 339-55 this season. They topped Capistrano Valley Christian, 11-6, at home Friday.


Playing Tuesday was on the mind of Sage Hill senior A.J. Wolfson, who allowed five hits and two earned runs in 6 2/3 innings to earn the win and improve to 8-1.

"There was a class meeting [Friday] about the senior trip and I never showed up," said Wolfson, whose team erased a 2-0 deficit with five runs in the fourth inning and another in the fifth, before holding on as Vasquez (18-3) scored three in the seventh and stranded runners at second and third. "I didn't want to learn anything about [the trip], because that would show I wasn't expecting to win [Friday]. And I expected to win, 100%.

"Getting a [CIF championship] ring or going rafting? You can go rafting any other time. This is [the seniors'] last chance, ever to get a ring."

Six senior starters, two juniors and a sophomore helped the hosts move closer to their section title dream, a cause aided by five errors from a depleted Vasquez squad. The Mustangs, who needed 13 innings to win their second-round game Tuesday at Kern Valley, were without Coach Bob James, as well as their best power hitter, senior Shadoe Jewett, who were both ejected Tuesday and, by rule, ineligible for the team's next game.

But with Wolfson on the mound, six Lightning getting at least one hit, and seven spots in the order producing either a hit or a run or both, Sage added to its historic season.

"Getting to the quarterfinals, we made history," Sage Coach Andy Berglund said. "And winning this game, we upped the ante and made history again. Everything we're doing is such a thrill for these guys and you see it in their faces. To come away with a win and get to the semifinals is absolutely huge for this school and the baseball program."

Daily Pilot Articles Daily Pilot Articles