Zebras rally to defeat Ceres and advance to championship

Game moved to Sac City College
By: Aaron Jackson for The News Messenger
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The Lincoln High baseball team came from a run down Tuesday in game two of its CIF Sac-Joaquin Section Division IV playoff semifinal series with Ceres to defeat the Bulldogs in two straight games and move on to the championship game scheduled for 3 p.m. Monday. The championship game was moved to Sacramento City College from Tony Zupo Field in Lodi.

The Fighting Zebras led early 4-0 in game two, but Ceres came back to score in the fifth and sixth innings and surge ahead 5-4.

But the Zebras rallied in the top of the seventh and then held on for a 7-5 victory.

Zebras head coach Graylon Duncan commented on his team’s No. 1 strength.

“Extreme hustle, grit and mental tenacity,” Duncan said, “I am really proud that my guys have bought into the game and not the opponent. They have not allowed any distractions.”

Lincoln will now play Placer in the championship game Monday. The Hillmen advanced by beating Colfax 2-0 in their best of three-game semifinal series. Placer defeated the Falcons 7-4 Saturday and 10-0 Wednesday.

Lincoln 14, Ceres 4

In game one of their potential three-game semifinal series, it took the Zebras six innings to subdue the Bulldogs.

Behind the bat of team captain Charles Middleton and the strong right arms of Leo Martinez and Kyle Smolich on the mound, Lincoln claimed game one against Ceres.

Middleton went yard twice to drive in five runs and score three times. The senior third baseman was also responsible for six of Ceres’ outs.

Ryan Graham had two hits in the contest for three RBI and two trips across the plate. Moises Huerta had three hits, a double, scored a run and drove one in.

The Zebras stole four bases, one each by Brennan Rozell, Jared Palmyra, James Sweet and Alex Fong.

Lincoln 5, Livingston 2

Lincoln won their first playoff game May 17 to move on to the semifinals.

Starting pitcher Zach Eutsey surrendered two runs in the first inning, but that’s where things stopped for the Wolves. After throwing for three and two-third innings, Eutsey gave way to Issac Adams, who threw shutout baseball the rest of the way.

Catcher Ty Williams went 3-3 at the plate, to include a double, a run and an RBI. Huerta had a single and a double to bring home two runs and also scored. Rozell had two base hits, a run and an RBI.

“I feel that we are playing great so far in playoffs. We are playing some of the best baseball we have played all year.” Rozell said. “Over the season we have played more as a team and that team chemistry is the biggest improvement we have made.”

_ Aaron Jackson is the sports information director for Lincoln High School