• Hugo Traverso

Cardinals Rally Late, Beat Mustangs to Capture Historic NCS Title

Cardinal Newman faced the San Marin Mustangs in the North Coast Section Division 3 Baseball Championship at Cardinal Newman on Friday. The Cardinals were in the hunt for their first ever NCS Title in baseball and started Jack Larson on the mound against the Mustangs who started John Holtz. The Mustangs' first 2 batters grounded out on great plays made by 3rd Baseman Brady Boyd and Shortstop Jack Lazark, but their next batter, Cole Chamberlain, singled. Josh Martin came up next and hit a single that put runners on first and second for Sophomore Anthony Scheppler who had performed well throughout the season. Scheppler hit a shot into deep right center field and rounded 2nd to try to make his 2 RBI double turn into a triple but after a great relay, Boyd tagged him out.

Newman was without a hit for 3.2 innings until with 2 outs and Brady Boyd (walked to leadoff inning) on second after a passed ball, Blake Bryson hit a single up the middle. Vero Poueu then hit a single to right, allowing Boyd to score and Newman to cut the lead to 2-1. Cody Guy came up and hit a hard grounder down the line, but Scheppler dove at it, making an amazing play and tagging the bag to end the inning. Larson got out of jams in the 2nd, 3rd and 4th with amazing pitching and in the 5th, after Andrew Abell hit a leadoff double, Larson forced a ground out, struck out Chamberlain and forced another ground out to end the half inning. In the 5th, Landen Rota led off with a walk, was advanced to second on a sac bunt by Nate Phelps and moved to third on a passed ball. Anane Wilson had a great hit, but it was caught by Walley in left field. With 2 outs, Brady Boyd came up and hit a line drive up the middle for a single and it scored Rota, tying the ballgame 2-2. Gavin Rognlien, who was coming off a 5 RBI game in the semifinals, came up and hit a moonshot to left field for a home run, and it gave Newman a 4-2 lead. Landen Rota came in in the top of the 6th and retired the side in 4 batters, keeping Newman ahead by 2 runs. Lazark then warmed up in the bullpen to be the closer, but Newman never needed him as the offense had an explosion in the 6th. After Holtz struck out the first two batters, Cody Guy was hit by a pitch and Carson Meyer came in as a pinch runner. Landen Rota then hit a single and Nate Phelps hit a double scoring Meyer and Rota and giving Newman a 4 run lead. Anane Wilson hit a single that scored Phelps and the Mustangs decided to bring in Sean McGrath to see if they could get out of the inning. Boyd walked and Rognlien hit a ground rule double to deep center that scored Wilson, giving Newman the 8-2 lead. The Mustangs then brought in Collin McGrath who got Lazark to ground out and end the inning. Riley Desilva came up against Rota and grounded out to Poueu before Andrew Abell hit a single. Garrett Abell flew out to deep center field and Cole Chamberlain hit a deep line drive that Wilson tracked down and made the catch to finish the game and give Newman the win, 8-2.

Wilson also made the defensive play of the game when in the 4th, he tracked down a deep fly ball to left center and made the catch to save the Cardinals from what would've been at least a double. He also made an incredible catch in the 7th when he tracked down a deep fly ball to right center from Garrett Abell. He made 5 catches and used his great vision and speed to make the plays. Newman's infield guarded well and corralled hard grounders to save Newman's lead. 3B/2B Brady Boyd, 2B Landen Rota, 2B Colin Lopez, 1B Vero Poueu and SS Jack Lazark guarded the infield great and Cody Guy prevented a lot of passed balls while he was behind the plate. Jack Larson got the win while John Holtz got the loss and Landen Rota got the save. Newman captured their first ever Baseball NCS Title and Coach DiBenedetti got showered in a bucket of ice water before he dodged the 2nd bucket. The plaque and banner was given to the seniors and the team celebrated. Newman will play in the CIF NorCal Championships and are currently 15th in the state and 3rd in the NCS.

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