SACRAMENTO — Don’t look now, but that team with the red-hot hitting and lights-out pitching that has charged into the finals of the Sac-Joaquin Section Division I North baseball tournament is Davis High.
After thrashing Franklin on Saturday, the Blue Devils came right back Tuesday and silenced a Rocklin squad that had just upset Elk Grove.
There was no upset Tuesday thanks to a combined no-hitter from DHS ace Matt Trask and closer Trey Golston, as the Devils beat the Thunder, 6-1. Advancing to the finals without a loss means the winner of a Thursday rematch between Rocklin and Elk Grove will have to beat Davis twice on Friday to stop the locals from capturing the North section crown.
Tuesday’s game was expected to be a pitchers duel between Thunder flame-thrower Logan Webb and the Blue Devils’ UCLA-committed Trask. And like Trask, Webb did not disappoint hurling fastballs that reached up to 94 miles per hour.
“I mean, Webb … Webb is unbelievable. He throws hard,” said DHS Blue Devil skipper Dan Ariola.
But despite the sheer velocity of Webb’s pitches, the white-hot Devil lineup eventually was able to manufacture some runs.
Nate Curtis led off the top of the fifth with a hard ground ball to the shortstop, which took a mean hop, allowing the Davis junior to reach first. After another 11th-grader, Quentin McCray, moved Curtis over with a sacrifice bunt, fellow junior Jared McNece stepped up to the plate and hit a high chopper to third base.
The Rocklin third baseman tried to make a David Wright-style, bare-handed play on the ball, throwing off of one foot in an attempt to nail McNece, but instead the ball sailed past the first baseman. On the play, Curtis scampered home to make it 1-0.
McNece made it to third on a wild pitch and scored when Webb’s pick-off toss missed the third baseman. Just like that, the locals were up 2-0, and Webb’s night was over.
“We hit one of the best pitchers in the area,” Golston said. “We took care of him, and just gave it to ‘em. Hey, we’re there for Friday.”
And the Blue Devil scoring didn’t stop there. In the sixth, the Thunder brought in Jack Dennis, who had a near-submarine-like motion.
But DHS took the submariner and sunk him to put the game out of reach.
Devil Brett Bloomfield greeted Dennis with a single up the middle, then came home on Golston’s double to right. After that, Rocklin’s defense collapsed and, four wild pitches and an error later, Davis was on top 6-0.
The advantage was more than enough for Trask, who stole the show with his stellar pitching. Though he walked five and ended up allowing a run, Rocklin got exactly zero hits off the senior star in his six innings of work.
“I expect that (kind of performance) every time from him,” Ariola said. “I’m spoiled that he comes out and gives us that every single game. Rocklin had some good at-bats and really drove his pitch count up.”
And that pitch count is what prevented Trask from getting a chance to complete his no-hitter. When Trask was pulled in the seventh he had thrown 110 pitches.
“It’s all pitch count. 106, 107 (pitches), he’s not going more than that,” Ariola said.
Trask also got some help from his outfielders as McNece made a tough catch on a deep fly ball in the third inning and John Ariola tracked down another liner that seemed to be hit way over his head.
With its hitting, pitching and defense all working on a high level, the Blue Devils are ready for whichever team emerges to face them Friday.
“We just have to go out there keep practicing, and keep hitting like we do in practice,” Golston said. “Timely hitting, solid pitching and defense. That’s all we need.”