Placer's ride comes to end

Mason fought off elimination earlier in day, but the PVL champs fell to Rodriguez in second game of doubleheader
By: Justin A. Lawson Journal Sports Writer
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SACRAMENTO ? Ryan Mason?s powerful right arm was enough to stave off elimination for the Placer High baseball team early Wednesday, but the Hillmen couldn?t find the answer in the second game. Placer fell 5-3 to Rodriguez (Fairfield) in the Sac-Joaquin Section Division III semifinals in the second game of a doubleheader. ?Everything got reversed right there,? Placer coach John Hilton said. ?It seemed like we were getting guys on and we had one out or two and just weren?t in position to play those games and even when we did they have a very good defense.? The Hillmen won the second game of the three-game series 2-1 earlier in the day and lost 3-2 Saturday in the series opener. Rodriguez grabbed early momentum with the help of its leadoff hitters, which reached base safely in each of the first three innings. The Mustangs put up three runs in the third inning to take a 3-1 lead after a leadoff walk and back-to-back bunt singles. On the second bunt single, Placer pitcher AJ Sanchez tried to throw the runner out at first from his knees but fired wide, which allowed Logan Lanza to score the tying run. The following batter, Donte Golden, then smashed a first-pitch, two-RBI triple to the right centerfield wall. Sanchez worked his way of the inning despite a wild pitch that nearly scored Golden and giving up a double. He survived one more inning before he was pulled for junior Eddie Vanderdoes, who hadn?t pitched since a tournament over spring break. Although he struck out the leadoff batter in the bottom of the fifth, Vanderdoes clearly showed his rust from the mound. He gave up consecutive singles then threw two wild pitches and a passed ball that gave Rodriguez a 5-1 lead. The Hillmen?s bats showed their first sign of life in the sixth with two outs after being kept off balance all game by pitcher Dylan Dumapay. Mason delivered an RBI single to score Kyle Wells from third and Kevin Giles followed with a single to left to load the bases. The next batter, Sanchez, hit a grounder through the left side to bring in Michael Reale to get within 5-3. Mason looked to be on his way to the plate but was held at third. Todd Valliere, who homered in the third inning, grounded out to short to end the inning with the bases loaded. ?The first one (pitcher in the first game) he throws probably in the 90s,? Mason said. ?(Dumapay) keeps you off balance with a lot of off-speed and a lot of soft, away. He never comes in, he knows if he comes in he?ll get hurt. We weren?t ready for that after the first kid and it?s tough to come back from a power guy to come back to a finesse guy.? Vanderdoes finished 2-for-3 with a double. Valliere was 1-for-2 with a home run a walk. Despite the loss, one game from the championship, Hilton said he was proud of his team after it won the Pioneer Valley League title on the last day of the regular season. ?I just think it was a nice ending for the guys to get a run and make it to the final four of the playoffs and as a staff we?re extremely happy for them that they got the opportunity to experience postseason play,? Hilton said. Placer 2, Rodriguez 1 Mason delivered his best performance of the season in Game 1 as the senior struck out 12, walked one and gave up four hits in a complete-game. The matchup was a preview to what college baseball fans will see next year when Mason heads to Cal Berkley and Rodriguez starting pitcher Jesse Scholtens, who will play at Arizona. Scholtens took the loss but it was the Mustangs? error in the first inning that allowed Vanderdoes to score for the first run of the game. Vanderdoes drove in the second run in the third after Austin LeBleu singled and moved over twice on wild pitches. Vanderdoes hit a liner to center field to give Hillmen a 2-0 lead. The Hillmen had just three hits in the game.