On April 22 — entering a crucial two-game series with Grant — the Davis High baseball team was hitting .273.
After banging out 23 hits in convincing wins over the Pacers, the Blue Devils have hit at better than a .400 clip to raise the team average to .313. DHS has six regulars batting better than .319.
The sudden power surge has translated to a three-game postseason winning streak, during which the Devils are hitting .353.
Now, Davis gets another stern test Tuesday when it faces Sierra Foothill League champ Rocklin (18-11) at Sacramento City College (7 p.m.). The two are the only unbeaten teams left in the Sac-Joaquin Section North Division I tournament, which is now down to three squads. (Elk Grove eliminated Franklin, 6-1, on Monday).
The pitching-deep Thunder is expected to throw rocket-armed Logan Webb, 4-2 with 68 strikeouts in 52 2/3 innings. His earned run average is 0.53.
Webb was the pitcher of record when Rocklin beat the locals, 3-2, in their last meeting (March 15, 2013).
The Blue Devils (19-11-1) will counter with ace Matt Trask (4-1, 1.53). Trask was brilliant in last week’s playoff opener, setting the stage for reliever Brett Bloomfield to get the decision in a 2-1 extra-inning win over Granite Bay.
Has DHS’ sudden big-bat theory surprised coach Dan Ariola?
“Not really,” the longtime skipper told The Enterprise. “Yeah, we started off kinda slow … but I knew all along we had guys who could swing it. Actually, our returning guys have been good from the start.”
Sophomore shortstop Ryan Kreidler (.427) and senior outfielder John Ariola (.387) have been red-hot of late. And with Trask at .379, the clutch hitting of Nate Curtis (.319), Trey Golston (.333) and Bloomfield (.333) has given the Devil lineup a radioactive glow.
Tuesday, something has to give between Rocklin and Davis. The winner of that one gets a breather until Friday while the loser takes on Elk Grove on Thursday at 7 p.m.
The Thunder is hitting a not-so-loud .269.
Webb — at .354 with three homers and 28 runs batted in — is clearly the guy to work around.
Notes: DHS won section titles in 2000 and 2004. Ariola, talking before Monday’s practice, said he was surprised that Pleasant Grove went one-and-done: “They had a lot of talent. A lot of veteran players. But, you know, it was Franklin again that knocked them out (7-6 last Thursday). That’s three straight years.” DHS graduate Rob Rinaldi is the Eagles’ coach. … The North championship is slated for 4 p.m. Friday (and again at 7 p.m., if necessary in the double-elimination brackets). Then, the two-of-three section title series starts at Pacific on May 30.
— Reach Bruce Gallaudet at firstname.lastname@example.org or 530-320-4456.