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Morgan Hill
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December 10, 2023

JUCO Baseball: Hawks deliver late runs to sweep Gavilan

GILROY—Gavilan’s historic season came to an end Saturday.
The second game of the California Community College Athletic Association Northern California Regional Playoffs mirrored the first for the Rams. Cosumnes River delivered fatal blows in the final innings to win 4-2 and sweep the Rams out of their first playoff appearance in 36 years. 
Gavilan flamethrower Erik Barron got the nod for Game 2 and took the mound in hopes of shutting down the Hawks.
And he did.
Unfortunately for the Rams, errors gave Cosumnes River its first two runs of the game.
Nicco Toni hit an RBI-single that looked like a normal ground ball heading straight to third baseman Matt Peterson. But the ball took an unusual bounce and sailed over Peterson’s left shoulder and allowed Logan Marston to score. The run evened the score at 1-all in the bottom of the fourth.
The Hawks again tied the game in the bottom of the seventh at 2-2 and they did it without getting a single hit.
Toni would took his place on first base after being hit by a pitch. The Hawk then advanced to second on a wild pitch and was bunted to third Gabriel Abelia. A second wild pitch from Barron allowed Toni to cross home plate for the tying run.
“Good teams against good pitchers find ways to battle and fight” Gavilan coach Neal Andrade said. “…and they (the Hawks) fought and they scratched.”
Barron tossed eight innings for Gavilan in his final game as a Ram. He allowed three runs on nine hits, while walking three and striking out nine.
“In the playoffs, pitching and defense is going to win you ball games,” Barron said.
But the Hawks weren’t the only ones capitalizing off errors.
Gavilan also took advantage of Cosumnes’ mistakes to get on the board in the first inning.
Bryant Cid led off with a single, but was awarded second when shortstop Andre Gregor attempted to throw him out at first. First baseman Tyler Blake could not handle the ball and it went bouncing out of play. Tony Amaral bunted him over to third and John Forestieri would bring Cid home with a ground ball to shortstop as the Rams took a 1-0 lead.
Gavilan regained the lead in the sixth inning. Brennan Wilson led off with a double down the first baseline. He eventually reached third when pitcher Matt Richardson tried to pick him off, but threw a ball that second baseman Trevor Ray couldn’t get a handle on.
With two outs, Forestieri struck out swinging on a ball on the ground the Hawks’ catcher couldn’t reel in. The ball rolled away to the backstop as Forestieri sprinted to first base and arrived safely. At the same time, Wilson dashed home and put his team ahead 2-1.
Forestieri would go 1 for 4 with two RBIs. No Ram would have a multiple hit game.
Base running errors would later haunt the Rams as both Wilson and Amaral were picked off in the eighth inning.
“We played well, it just didn’t go our way today,” Gavilan catcher Tyler Slayday said.
Gavilan looked to put pressure on reliever Austin Ales in the ninth inning by getting runners on base. With Forestieri on first and one out, all hopes of forcing a game three were eradicated as Peterson hit into a 6-4-3 double play to end the game. In the end, the Rams went out as they have been doing all season; putting the ball in play.
“Everyone got better,” sophomore Barron said. “Everyone stuck with each other and competed against each other and I think that got us better and got us a little closer (as a team.”
“Best team I’ve ever played on—love them,” added Slayday.

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