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Morgan Hill
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September 30, 2023

Opportunistic Acorns advance to CCS baseball semis

Live Oak made Terra Nova pay for its errors with timely hitting in their 7-4 win at Los Gatos High School Saturday morning and advance to the semifinal round of the CCS division II playoffs.
“Probably our best-played game of the year at the most important moment,” Live Oak coach Matt Brotherton said.
The Acorns opened the scoring in the first inning on an error by the third baseman when his throw was off line to first on Kyle Riveron’s bunt. Damon Rodriguez moved to third on the throw and continued to home plate after the throw got by the first baseman.
“That was huge,” coach Brotherton said. “When we get down early it’s tough for us to stay in it. It was a big emotional lift for us to be up early and stay up.”
Alec Petroskey got the second run of the inning on a ground ball to the shortstop after Live Oak had loaded the bases on P.J. Rochon’s single to right field.
“It’s so nice because you could feel relaxed and not feel pressure to throw the perfect pitch every time,” Chris Knopf said about pitching with a lead.
Terra Nova’s errors opened the door for the Acorns again in the fourth inning.
Alex Cornejo got caught on a rundown between third and home plate on Rodriguez’ ground ball. After switching directions a few times, he took off to third and it might have taken a Terra Nova player by surprise because he was slow to react to get out of the running lane while his teammate chased Cornejo.
The umpires called interference and Cornejo was allowed to advance to home plate. Rodriguez took advantage of the rundown to move to second base. While Cornejo was jogging home, a Terra Nova player threw home, but the ball sailed over the catcher and Rodriguez took third.
Riveron made the Tigers pay for their confusion on the diamond with a single to bring in Rodriguez and then stole second base.
Terra Nova made another mistake that cost them another run in the inning.
D.J. Washington hit a hard ground ball directly to the first baseman, but the ball rolled under his globe and between his legs allowing Riveron to score the third run in the inning. The Tigers got out of trouble thanks to an inning-ending double play.
The Acorns also scored a run in the third and another in the fifth taking advantage of errors and walks. They also had opportunity to increase their lead in the sixth and seventh when they loaded the bases, but they came up empty-handed.
Live Oak combined for ten hits, seven walks and a stolen base.
While the Acorns’ offence kept the line moving, Chris Knopf kept the Tigers stagnant. He allowed only one hit in the first three innings, but got into some trouble in the fourth and fifth innings.
“Great pitching by Chris Knopf as usual, he’s been doing it all year,” coach Brotherton said.
Terra Nova had runners on second and third base with no outs when Knopf threw a wild pitch that allowed the Tigers to score their first run. Knopf got out of the jam on a 4-6-3 double play.
The Tigers got the first two batters on base for the consecutive inning in the fifth with a single and double. Knopf responded by striking out the third batter. He got the next batter to groundout, but the Tigers got a run home on the play. A single would get the second run home before Knopf induced another groundball to end the inning.
Knopf pitched five innings, allowed six hits, three runs and walked two batters.
The first two Terra Nova players worked a walk from C.J. Aichele in the sixth, but he limited the damage to one run and pitched through a fielding error.
“…(Aichele) has been solid all year, has come in and got us out of several jams,” coach Brotherton said.
Riveron shut and locked the door on the Tigers in the seventh on three ground balls.
“I haven’t used him very much because he is such a integral part of our defense,” coach Brotherton said. “When the time is right we pull him to close out games.”
“It was a really great job by the kids stepping up when they needed to,” coach Brotherton said. “Backs against the wall, single elimination tournament, you have to play well or you go home and we get to practice on Monday and play at San Jose Muni on Tuesday.”

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