Lincoln’s section championship streak ends
The three-time section Division IV champion Lincoln High baseball team fell to Del Oro 6-5 in round two of the CIF Sac-Joaquin Section Division II Playoffs Thursday.
Although going from Division IV to Division II would appear to be quite a leap for the Fighting Zebras, Lincoln head coach Graylon Duncan dismissed the idea. Duncan said his club fell to the Golden Eagles simply because Del Oro had “game” that day.
“So, for me, the divisions are not as important as just playing the game,” Duncan said, “and you’re not playing against the other team; you play against the game and today the game got us.”
The Zebras did play from behind for most of the game. The visitors opened with a two-run lead in the top of the first, but in the bottom of the second, Lincoln answered.
Connor Manley led off with a single and moved to second on Harry Rounds’ sacrifice. Dylan Rhodes drew a base on balls and Clayton Coats singled to bring home Manley and move Rhodes to third.
Brennan Rozell then hit a fly deep to center, allowing Rhodes to score.
The Zebras took a 3-2 lead in the third inning set up by Ty Williams’ towering shot that bounced off the left-field fence. After reaching third on a passed ball, Williams came home on James Sweet’s base hit.
The Eagles went up 5-3 in the fifth, but Lincoln came right back.
Sweet and Jacob Lemus walked and both moved into scoring position on a wild pitch. Rounds then delivered a two-run blow, but was called out trying to stretch his hit into a double, leaving the score at 5-5.
After a scoreless sixth inning, Del Oro’s Cody Oldwin singled and took second on a throwing error. Pinch runner EJ Vasquez was moved to third on a sacrifice bunt. With two outs and a two-strike count, Del Oro’s Ethan Beausoleil hit a sinking line drive over second base charged by Sweet in center field. Sweet dove and appeared to make the catch, but the ball rolled free. Vasquez then scored from third for the winning run.
“Honestly, they just got a few more balls to fall than we did. They fell when they needed them to fall,” said Duncan. “Both teams played a great game. They both were good at the plate; both pitching staffs were good. Sometimes you just lose baseball games.”
At the plate: Rozell (1-3), Williams (2-4, 2b, run), Sweet (1-2, run, rbi), Lemus (run), Manley (1-2, run), Rounds (2-1, run, 2rbi), Rhodes (1-2, run), Coats (2-2, rbi).
Pitching: Williams (3ip, 4hits, 2runs, 2k), Jack Nilson (1ip, 2runs), Alex Nunez (1ip, 2hits, run, k) and J.T. Willis (2ip, 2hits, run, 2k).
It was the final game for seniors Manley, Rozell, Sweet, Jared Palmyra, Nunez, Williams, Zach Eutsey, Nick Pereira and Leo Martinez.
“I would like to say I’m just overwhelmed and so proud of the way my seniors carried themselves this year. “… [W]hat we try to teach them is, every year, you’re setting the legacy for the team behind you and I just let them know that what they do here will always remain here,” Duncan said. “Because people will get passed on from team after team so every year you’re just setting precedence to the team behind you. And our seniors did that very well; they were a joy.”