ELK GROVE — He came into the game with a 0.58 earned run average. He was hitting .367 and was the team’s RBI co-leader.
As reigning Delta Valley Conference Player of the Year, the kid has committed to UCLA next season, yet pro scouts continue to monitor the big guy’s progress: Five MLB teams were represented by advance men as senior Matt Trask took the mound for Davis High on Friday.
Going into this crucial DVC game against Elk Grove, as brilliant as the 6-foot-3, 210-pound ace had been, Trask hadn’t won a start. He was 0-0 as the Blue Devils took the field for their 11th game of 2014.
After a shaky first inning, in which the home-standing Thundering Herd scratched out its only two runs of the afternoon, Trask settled in and showcased what all the fuss was about as DHS prevailed, 6-2.
“When it comes down to it, our team can get the runs when necessary,” Devil reliever Trey Golston said after getting the final five outs to preserve Trask’s five-hit, seven-strikeout outing. “Guys like Matt can go out there and pitch, throw strikes and get us out of some tough spots and that’s what he did (Friday) … and it was great.”
In his fifth start of the spring, Trask saw the Herd’s Nick Madrigal open the bottom of the first with an infield hit. Derek Hill followed with a walk.
A brilliant diving catch in front of the Elk Grove dugout by then-third baseman Golston was out No. 1. But a ball in the dirt allowed Madrigal and Hill to advance, setting up Dylan Carlson’s two-run single.
Muscling up on the next hitter, Trask fanned Brooks Day with three of his best fastballs for out No. 2. When Ty Madrigal looped a liner to Brett Bloomfield at second, the fire was out and the Herd was done scoring — although Trask had to work through a bases-loaded jam in the second and Golston fanned the game’s final two batters to leave three on in the seventh.
Once Trask wriggled out of the second inning, it was all Davis.
As the sun broke through in the third, so did the Blue Devils …
Quentin McCray’s lead-off walk was followed by John Ariola reaching on a sacrifice bunt (everybody was safe on an error).
Ryan Kreidler walked before Trask did the same, forcing home McCray. Golston’s line single plated Ariola and — with two outs — Nate Curtis’ hit to right, off Elk Grove starter Chris Martin, brought in Kreidler and Trask.
“It was good to see Trey come up with some big at-bats (Friday), and Nate Curtis. Lot of positives,” DHS skipper Dan Ariola told The Enterprise.
Up 4-2, Trask would retire nine straight Herd hitters, setting up a two-out, sixth-inning Devil rally that supplied a pair of insurance runs:
Relief pitcher Skyler Quam got Hudson Forrester and McCray to start the inning, but Ariola started a string of singles that included infield hits by Brett Bloomfield and Kreidler and a liner to center from Trask (Kreidler and Trask drove in Ariola and Bloomfield).
Davis (7-3-1, 4-1 in the Delta Valley Conference) now sits in a first-place tie with Grant (9-2, 4-1). The Herd (5-4, 3-2) stands in a third-place tie with Franklin (8-4, 3-2).
Entering the game with a .247 team average, did the locals’ 10 hits signal an offensive dawning?
“I feel like it, because everyone is starting to click a little bit and everyone is getting bunts down, hitting … playing as a team,” Golston said. “I think (this win) will spark us and we’ll be good for the rest of the season.”
Franklin now enters Blue Devil air space.
Bloomfield (1-1, 1.68 ERA) gets the Tuesday start at FHS and Trask will start against the Wildcats in Davis on Thursday. Both games start at 4:15 p.m.
Notes: Kreidler entered Friday hitting .357 and went 2-for-3 with an RBI and run. Golston was 2-for-4 as DHS scored four runs with two outs. … Golston has been brilliant this season as a relief pitcher. He is 3-0 and has not allowed a run all spring. … EGHS coach Jeff Carlson was unhappy with the sixth-inning bang-bang calls at first base that resulted in scratch hits for Bloomfield and Kreidler. Carlson, who had already made three appearances in complaint of earlier situations, made one too many trips to challenge umpires. After Kreidler’s hit, Carlson challenged the call and was ejected. … In the past 10 years, Davis is 10-11 against Elk Grove during the regular season and 0-3 in Sac-Joaquin Section play. The Herd owns seven SJS titles, with the Devils winning everything in 2000 and 2004. DHS is the defending DVC champ; Elk Grove took the 2013 section pennant.
— Reach Bruce Gallaudet at [email protected] or 530-320-4456.