SACRAMENTO — Big pitchers. Big game.
When Davis High ace Matt Trask took the mound against Jesuit’s unbeaten Chris Loeb (7-0) in Thursday’s Sac-Joaquin Section baseball elimination outing, something had to give.
On this day, it was the Marauders who blinked …
Trask’s seven-hit shutout ended the Jesuit season, 2-0, at Union Stadium on the campus of Sacramento City College — setting up a Saturday date with Pleasant Grove (3 p.m.).
“Unbelievable,” DHS skipper Dan Ariola said after his imposing right-hander ran his record to 7-2. “To pitch out of some of those jams …”
Trask, whose 90-plus fastball makes his wicked change-up look like it’s in slow motion, fanned 10 and walked only two.
He was staked to an unearned run in the third inning when John Ariola’s bad-hop single drove home Trey Golston, who had reached on one of three Marauder miscues.
In the sixth, Bobby Young’s lead-off single set the stage for the second run.
With C.K. Hicks pinch running, Devil freshman Ryan Kreidler pushed a perfect sacrifice bunt to the right side. After Loeb fanned the next batter, Golston pounded a 1-2 pitch into center field, allowing the speedy Hicks to handily beat Andre Gregory’s throw to the plate.
With what now seemed like a bounty of scoring, Trask and his 90-some pitches took the mound for the seventh. Getting three outs wouldn’t be easy.
After a quick out, Alex Larivee ripped a ball off Golston at third. The hit caromed to shortstop Kreidler, ranging far to his right behind his teammate.
Kreidler snagged the ball and provided fans with a Derek Jeter-like leaping pirouette and throw — just after Larivee crossed first for an infield hit.
Strikeout No. 10 came in the name of Lorenzo Acuri before Andy Snow walked.
That brought Jesuit clean-up hitter Julian Barron to the plate and caused a meeting of the Blue Devil minds at the mound.
“He was over 100 pitches,” Ariola told reporters. “That was his last batter. I had (relievers) Adam (Inouye) and Jake (Miille) ready to go.”
Barron worked the count to 3-2 (a high and outside 3-1 pitch getting a generous strike call from the umpire) before Trask’s 107th pitch got Barron to fly out to the junior Ariola in center.
Earlier, Trask worked out of a bases-loaded, one-out jam in the fifth inning and a two-on, one-out pickle in the fourth.
Both times, unusual plays provided Trask’s escape hatch …
In the fourth, J.C. Montemayor whiffed on one of the Big Fella’s off-speed pitches. DHS catcher Hayden Duer made a scrambling block of the ball in the dirt as the Jesuit runners ventured off first and second.
Duer threw through to Kreidler, but Snow made it safely back to second. Meanwhile, Gregory was trying to return to first, but Kreidler’s heads-up play to Young at first completed your customary strikeout-2-6-3 double play.
In that fifth inning, with a Marauder at every base and one down, Arcuri lofted a towering infield pop halfway down the first base line. Young drifted under the ball as Arcuri steamed for first.
The pair collided head-on in the base path, each down for the count. Immediately, the infield umpire had called infield fly, then after the crash, “Foul ball!”
Ariola argued the decision, the other ump was called in and eventually Arcuri was called out for interference. Snow, the next batter, struck out — ending the rally.
Trask talked about the Blue Devils’ big tournament-opening win:
“I was thinking that in my career I hadn’t beaten Jesuit yet (he lost 3-2 as the pitcher of record last season and again in March, 8-2, a game in which he didn’t take the mound). I had some revenge in my system that I wanted to get out … and I did (Thursday).”
In typical Davis fashion, the locals made the most of their five hits and took advantage of that big third-inning error.
“We’ve had a lot of close games … it’s kind of our thing,” Trask said with a laugh. “We don’t expect to score a lot of runs, but we seem to come out in those last innings.”
DHS (22-6) now is the only No. 1 seed remaining after Pleasant Grove sent Vacaville packing, 5-2, in eight innings on Thursday. Jesuit ended its season at 22-8.
On Wednesday, Franklin ousted Delta River League winner Oak Ridge, 4-1, and Elk Grove beat Sierra Foothill League champ Woodcreek, 8-5, in eight innings, to give the Delta Valley Conference three of the final four teams standing.
Notes: The rest of the tournament is double-elimination. … The only non-DVC squad remaining, Pleasant Grove, is the DRL runner-up. … Elk Grove and Franklin play at noon Saturday. … Duer was again strong behind the plate: “(Hayden) has meant a lot to me,” Trask told The Enterprise. “He’s really good at blocking balls, and with my change-up as my No. 2 pitch, he gets a lot of balls in the dirt. He’s been awesome the past two years.” … Ariola points out that the remaining teams “are all tough,” but couldn’t help but smile when he added: “We’re home team the rest of the way.” … Jesuit lefty Loeb struck out six and walked two in his 5 2/3 innings of work. Austin Jordan came on to get the final out.
— Reach Bruce Gallaudet at email@example.com or 530-747-8047.