Ground control to Major Tom, er, Dan …
With Davis High baseball coach Dan Ariola nowhere to be found (he is suspended for one game after getting the heave-ho in Monday’s Sac-Joaquin Section playoff win over Granite Bay), pitching coach Marc Kenner will be at the helm Thursday when the Blue Devils meet Vacaville at 4 p.m. at Sacramento City College.
It’s another win-or-go-home outing for the Devils, who survived a 2-1, nine-inning pitchers duel with the Grizzlies.
“I’m not really sure where I’ll be. I won’t be in the stadium (a condition of getting kicked out arguing balls and strikes Monday),” said Ariola, shaking his head. “I know I’ll be nearby, getting updates.”
DHS (16-11-1) and Monticello Empire League champ Vacaville (16-10) are old friends.
In the past 10 seasons, the two squads have met 19 times. Davis holds a 13-6 advantage, but VHS stopped the locals, 2-1, to open the 2014 season .
The hope around Devilville is that the Bulldogs don’t bookend DHS’ campaign with a season-ending defeat Thursday.
DHS’ Brett Bloomfield, Monday’s winning pitcher in relief of Matt Trask, gets the call at Sac City College. Bloomfield (4-3, 3.10 earned run average) threw 26 pitches in two innings of work against Granite Bay.
“I just talked to Brett … and he said he feels good,” Ariola told The Enterprise as his team prepared for Tuesday’s practice. “He’ll have two days off. We’ll just have to keep a close eye on him in the game.”
Ariola said every pitcher — except Trask — will be available for Vacaville.
The coach said he likes the way relievers Trey Golston, Ryan Kreidler, Kris Prince and Ted Riffle have been throwing, so “we’re ready to go,” Ariola promised.
The Bulldogs, who used George Lizarraga and Blake Hannah to hold the Devils to four hits in that opener (where Bloomfield was the tough-luck loser), are expected to send ace Drew Chitwood to the hill.
Chitwood — also an outstanding football defensive back — has a 7-2 pitching record with a hard-to-find 0.83 ERA. In 35 innings, the 6-foot, 175-pound senior has fanned 53. He also provides a healthy bat (a team-best .385 average and 15 runs scored).
VHS coach Abe Hobbs also has other able arms to call upon, mostly notably reliever/infielder Hannah (5-2, 1.18, two saves).
Other dangerous ‘Dogs are third baseman Clayton Caserza (.373) and outfielder Cory McGuire (two homers, 12 RBIs).
Notes: Shortstop Kreidler continues to pace all Davis hitters with a .415 batting average. … Ariola said he’s never been ejected during a playoff game in his 19 years coaching at DHS. … The Thursday winner will play the survivor of the Pleasant Grove-Franklin game. That would take place Saturday (3 p.m.) at SCC. In other playoff contests, Sierra Foothill League winner Rocklin plays Oak Ridge of the Delta River League Wednesday at 4 p.m., while defending section champ Elk Grove gets MEL runner-up Vintage at 7 p.m. After this round, the tournament switches to double-elimination. … Hobbs was Yankee All-Star CC Sabathia’s coach at Vallejo High 11 years ago.
— Reach Bruce Gallaudet at firstname.lastname@example.org or 530-320-4456.