HS Baseball: Rancho Christian Wins the South Valley League Championship

The Eagles Defeat Santa Rosa Academy 12-1

By Lynn Guerin

Resilience is an important character trait for a team developing a championship pedigree. On Thursday afternoon, the Rancho Christian Eagles demonstrated just how quickly they could bounce back from the tough shutout loss that ended their 14 game winning streak at the hands of Capo Valley Christian.

One day later, the Eagles were soaring as they put up 12 runs, pounded out 14 hits, played flawless defense and got great pitching from senior Trevor Jones on Senior Day. The result, Rancho defeated the Santa Rosa Rangers 12-1 for a spotless 10-0 league record and clinched the 2018 South Valley League Championship.

Often in championship games, unlikely heroes emerge at unexpected times. Such was the case in the first inning Thursday. Taylor Tosches after one out singled.Trevor Jones singled Tosches to third and took second on the throw. Carter Treadway hit a rocket line drive to left center scoring both Jones and Tosches. Rancho had a quick 2-0 lead.

Colton Bulger singled sharply, sending Treadway to second. After a strikeout, Danny Meraz kept the inning alive with a single that loaded the bases. Up stepped senior, big Joel Pruitt, getting the start at first base, and batting in the eighth position.

Pruitt who was injured much of the season and has only had 20 at bats all season, delivered the biggest hit of his high school baseball experience. With a one strike count Pruitt muscled his entire 230lb frame into a towering fly ball that landed on top of the batting cage beyond the left field fence for a grand slam homerun.

Unlikely hero- Joel Pruitt take a bow. The homerun gave The Eagles a 6-0 lead and for all intent and purposes put the championship out of reach for the Rangers.

Rancho Christian added two runs in the second to take an 8-0 lead which held until the top of the third, when Santa Rosa broke through for their only score.

Stephon Herron was hit with a Trevor Jones fastball and then scored when Michael Downtain doubled to the fence in center. It was only the second hit for the Rangers and would be their last of the game.

Rancho ended the game in the bottom of the sixth with four runs on four hits, 2 walks and a passed ball that put the icing on the championship cake.

Trevor Jones pitched a complete game 2 hitter, winning his eight game of the season with only one loss. He walked one , hit one batter and struck out seven. In 53 innings this season Jones has a sparkling 1.57 ERA with 53 strikeouts.

Rancho Christian  now readies itself for CIF Playoffs beginning next week .Their 20 win 4-loss season has them ranked #6 among 73 Division 5 teams and should put the Eagles in position to make a run for the ring.

Good Luck Eagles!