• Hugo Traverso

Rota's Shutout Performance Leads Newman to NBL-Oak Title

Landen Rota delivered 5 2/3 shutout innings with 8 strikeouts to lift the Cardinals to a win in the NBL Championship over Maria Carrillo on Friday at Cardinal Newman. Rota also had 2 singles and an RBI in the game. He was also able to close out the game by making a terriffic catch in foul territory for the third out in the top of the 7th. On the mound, Rota froze batters with his terriffic breaking balls and blew past their swings with a great fastball. Rota threw 101 pitches but not even the top scout would notice it as he switched to 2nd base when he was taken out and played incredibly. He fielded hard hit grounders with percision and tracked down a hard pop fly, catching it and ending the game. At the plate, he fought hard, going 2-3 with 2 singles allowing a run to score on a sac fly and Newman to expand their lead.

It was 79 degrees at Cardinal Newman High School when the Cardinal Newman Cardinals took on the Maria Carrillo Pumas in the NBL Championship Game. Maria Carrillo was the 4 seed and had beaten Windsor 11-0 to make the NBL-Oak Championship while Newman had knocked off Ukiah 3-2 to make the game. Newman had ace Landen Rota on the mound while Carrillo had Wesley Allen on the hill. Newman had Cody Guy behind the plate, Vero Poueu, Brady Boyd, Jack Lazark and Blake Bryson from 1st to 3rd and Nate Phelps, Anane Wilson and Gavin Rognlien from Left Field to Right Field. Carrillo had Rider Baker behind home plate, Carson Smith, Brady Williams, Spencer Hubenette and Tommy McPhee from first to third and Cooper Keys, Cooper Wood and Gio Lucchesi from left to right. Josh Volmerding started as the DH and hit for Brady Williams.

Newman and Carrillo looked evenly matched until the bottom of the third when Brady Boyd who had struck out in the first inning came up. With 2 strikes, Brady lifted a pitch deep that landed on the base of the wall and scored Cody Guy from second. Boyd went for third but was tagged out due to a great throw but the damage had already been done. Rota showed off his great ability to work under pressure with his performance in the top of the 4th where with the bases loaded and one of the best hitters in the Carrillo lineup up, Rota stayed calm and struck the batter out to end the half inning. He got into a worse hole in the 5th where the bases were loaded with no outs and he struck out the next two batters he faced and forced the third to ground out. In the 4th, Newman added a 2nd run when Jack Lazark singled, scoring Vero Poueu from 2nd and making it 2-0 Newman. In the 5th, Newman blew the game open with Phelps leading off with a single, Wilson getting hit and Boyd being walked to load the bases. Landen Rota came up and hit a deep fly ball to center allowing Phelps to score and Wilson to go to 3rd to make it 3-0 Newman. Then on a passed ball, Anane used his speed to scored and make the ball game 4-0 Newman. Rota went to work in the 6th nearing 100 pitches. He was quick to retire McPhee and Keys, but walked Josh Volmerding which forced Manager Derek DeBenedetti to pull him for the warming up Jack Larson. Rota exited with 101 pitches thrown and 8 strikeouts before going out again to play second. Boyd was moved to shortstop and Lazark was taken out to go warm up in the bullpen just in case. He struck out Rider Baker to end the half inning. He came back to close the game out and did so, forcing Hubenette and Wood to ground out and Allen to pop out, giving Newman the win, 4-0 and the NBL-Oak Title.

Rota was creditted the win and Allen the loss as the Cardinals took the win 4-0. Rota threw 5 2/3 innings, 8 strikeouts, 4 walks, hit a batter, gave up 4 hits and faced 26 batters, all on 101 pitches. Allen threw 6 innings, 1 strikeouts, 2 walks, hit 2 batters, gave up 8 hits, 4 runs (3 ER) and faced 28 batters, all on 83 pitches. Landen won the YSN Community First Credit Union Player of the Game and said this about his performance on the mound:

"I felt good today. I had some confidence and tried to help the team out from a rough week last week. We put in a lot of work this week, had lots of talks about a lot of adjustments we needed to make and came out and felt really good about this game and last game and we came and we got the job done."

Rota said this about batting clean up for the Cardinals:

"I've been trying to work my ass off and get up there and help the team. It's been working so far. I'm seeing the ball really well and Coach said 'You wanna be in the lineup today?' and I said 'Yes, Coach.' and he said 'how about 4 hole?' and I said 'I'm fine with that'

Rota said this about the Cardinals' defense and getting into the situations with the bases loaded:

"The defense is the biggest part behind my pitching and they help me out the most. Bases loaded was tough. I was trying to find that release point sometimes and I found that with the bases loaded, sadly, but it got the job done."

Landen said this about the offense and what they were doing to make it work:

"2 strike hitting, a different approach. We needed to take the bat off our shoulders and swing the bat a little bit more and get that stick going. Recently, it hasn't been going but we just came back this week and did what we needed to do and it was working this week so hopefully we carry that on for the rest of the season."

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