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Rocklin claims section championship in baseball

Thunder top Granite Bay 11-7 in DII final
By: Russ Edmondson The Placer Herald
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Rocklin High senior Jason Hampton drove in six runs as the Thunder topped Granite Bay 11-7 to win the Sac-Joaquin Section, Division II baseball championship on Monday night at Sacramento City College. Rocklin, which went 4-0 against the Sierra Foothill League rival Grizzlies this season, also beat Granite Bay for the DII title in 2007. Rocklin led 7-0 through four innings and Thunder junior pitcher Matt Fielding had allowed no hits up to that point. Granite Bay then rallied for five runs in the top of the fifth inning and it would have been at least six if not for Rocklin senior Brandon Odion. The Grizzlies trailed 7-4 and had four runs scored in the inning when Jake Marjama hit what appeared to be a two-run double down the leftfield line. Odion then told Rocklin coach Roc Murray that Granite Bay’s Trevor Trinidad, the second runner to score on the play, had missed home plate. Murray approached the home-plate umpire and Rocklin appealed to home plate. The umpire then singled that Trinidad was out because he had missed home plate. Instead of Rocklin’s lead being just 7-6 with the tying run on second base - the inning was over. It was 7-5 Rocklin heading into the last of the fifth inning. Granite Bay left fielder Josh Hilburn was ejected for arguing with an umpire and the game was stopped for several minutes while fired-up Granite Bay coach Pat Esposito argued with the umpires. Murray credited Odion, who was on the bench, for his awareness. “He came up to me and said ‘coach, they missed home plate’” Murray said. “It completely changed the momentum of the game. They have already lost three times to us (during league play) and in the middle of the momentum-changing rally, that happens.” Rocklin responded immediately with four runs in the last of the fifth inning to make it 11-5. Fielding hit a RBI triple and leadoff man Justin Castro doubled as part of the rally. Fielding (six innings, five runs, three earned runs, seven strikeouts) then pitched his final inning in the sixth and Hampton (one inning, two runs, one earned run, one strikeout) pitched the seventh inning. “I was so nervous, especially in the last inning (when he was on the mound),” Hampton said. “We had a tough pre-season and we didn’t know what we had. But we came together after a team meeting and then it was ‘we can get this done.’” Rocklin scored once in the second inning and three times each in the third and fourth innings. Fielding hit a RBI double in the second inning and Hampton crushed a three-run homer to left in the third inning after Granite Bay intentionally walked Rocklin senior Pat Stover to get to Hampton. Granite Bay then walked Stover on four pitches in the fourth inning to load the bases before Hampton cleared the bases with a single to right-center. “It pumps me up even more,” said Hampton about how he felt after Granite Bay issued the intentionally walk to Stover. “(Granite Bay starting pitcher Braden Young) hung (the home-run pitch) and I got my foot down.” Young also gave up the bases-loaded hit to Hampton in the fourth.