Vikings can’t get past McClatchy in D2 bracket
For the second time in as many years, Oakmont’s baseball team had an early departure from the section playoffs.
After dropping a 6-0 decision last year at Benicia in the first round, the Vikings worked hard to earn a better seed in the 2017 postseason. Following the program’s first Capital Valley Conference championship, the team claimed the No. 2 seed in the Division II bracket, opposite Benicia, and expected a deeper run.
But even a first-round bye seemed to backfire.
The Vikes couldn’t get past No. 7 seed McClatchy in the second round Tuesday night at American River College, as they dropped a 4-1 decision and were eliminated.
The Lions put UCLA baseball commit Jack Filby on the mound following their 5-0 win over Fairfield in their play-in game Monday, and Filby had a no-hitter going into the seventh inning against the Vikings, leaving little chance for a comeback.
“We ran into a really good arm tonight,” Oakmont’s coach Paul Martinez admitted. “He was really good, but that’s baseball. We’re not going to cry about it. We could have competed a little harder, like we did in the last two innings, but we needed more of that, earlier in the game. It is what it is — I’m not going to let it ruin our season.”
Although he doesn’t think his team could have earned a better draw going into the playoffs, Martinez did feel the first-round bye contributed to some of his team’s struggles, whether that was locating the ball as a batter or extending at-bats to increase Filby’s pitch count and possibly see another pitcher late in the game.
“I think the week off hurt us, because they played (Tuesday) and had a chance to see a good arm already,” Martinez said. “But with the way our league is set up, our last game was the fifth, so it’s been 10 days of no, live-game action. All of the other leagues finish play the following week, so I think we need to make an adjustment moving forward.”
McClatchy tacked on three early runs in the second inning for Filby, and he did the rest.
Used mostly as a closer throughout the regular season, the Lions right-hander tossed all seven innings Tuesday, with ten strikeouts and only a pair of singles in the seventh inning stopped his impressive no-hitter.
Filby was nearly just as good from the batter’s box as he tallied three hits in four at-bats and drove in one of his team’s four runs to help his case on the mound.
Freshman Andrew Paolini managed to get Oakmont on the board in the bottom of the third as he flied a ball to right field and reached third after McClatchy’s right-fielder dropped it. Sophomore Greg Nichols brought him home with a sac-fly RBI, as the Vikings cut the lead to two runs. But that was as close as Oakmont got.
The Lions added a run in the fifth and closed out the 4-1 win to advance to Saturday’s best-of-three semifinals matchup against Vanden.
Meanwhile, Oakmont will head home and approach the offseason.
“I wish we could have won, but we have to take the next step for our program,” Martinez added. “You get to this time of the year and nobody is going to give you anything.”