WOODLAND — Yolo Post 77 put its grit and determination on full display as it powered through an American Legion doubleheader Wednesday night, sweeping Fair Oaks to claim a berth in the Area 1 playoffs.
Behind solid pitching and a couple of barrages of offense, Yolo won the first game, 8-1, then took the nightcap, 9-3, at historic Clark Field in Woodland.
Because of Post 77’s success in head-to-head matchups against fellow members of the Eastern District, it can now take comfort in the fact that it has a guaranteed playoff spot. Sunday’s regular-season finale, also against Fair Oaks, only has the potential to affect Yolo’s seeding.
“As a team, it’s huge,” said Post 77 head coach Dave Ryan. “It’s huge to know that you’re in the playoffs.”
In Wednesday’s games, both of which lasted seven innings, Yolo looked more than ready to contend for the Area 1 title — and a spot in the state tournament.
Starting pitchers Dalton Sachs and Andrew Fuentes each came up big as Sachs held the Oaks to one run in the first contest and Fuentes held them to three in Game 2, getting seven strikeouts along the way.
“Both of them (pitched well),” Ryan said. “Fuentes made some great adjustments with his balance points. The key to a pitcher is knowing, just like a batter, your adjustments.”
Offensively, the locals did their damage in sudden bursts. In the first game, they notched five runs in the second inning.
They then had an even more impressive stretch in the nightcap.
Trailing by one run entering the bottom of the third, Post 77 quickly altered the complexion of the game with a seven-run onslaught. Kiki Gonzalez got the ball rolling when he doubled deep into left field to score Trey Golston — a former Davis High standout — and Andy Snow.
Gonzalez appeared to consider trying for a triple as he rounded second, but instead pulled up and settled for the two-bagger. His patience paid off as singles by Jake Miille and Andrew Bolich — each of whom have worn a Blue Devil uniform — allowed moved Gonzalez to third, then home to give Yolo a 3-1 lead.
Miille and Bolich subsequently scored on singles by Dan Henrickson — another Davis player during the school year — and Jacob Grant, respectively, to boost the Post 77 advantage to 5-1. Henrickson and Grant recorded runs of their own to cap off the Yolo surge.
Fair Oaks responded with two runs over the next two innings, but Post 77 locked up the game in the bottom of the fifth. In that frame, Snow doubled to bring Golston home before scoring on a sacrifice fly by Thomas Galart and giving his team a six-run lead.
Fuentes, who pitched six innings, and closer Golston shut the Oaks down the rest of the way. Golston looked particularly sharp in his time on the mound, striking out all three batters he faced to end the game.
“If you don’t have pitching, you’re in trouble (in the playoffs). We actually have 12 guys on this team who can throw on the mound, so it’s nice to have,” Ryan said.
And they will all be rested as the Area 1 tournament, which will be hosted by the Fairfield Expos, begins on July 22.