Senior pitcher Grant Magnuson carried the Bronco baseball team on his sturdy back in Los Olivos on Friday, May 30, leading Coast Union High School to a 6-1 quarterfinal CIF Division 7 playoff victory at Dunn School.
At the plate, Magnuson drove in the first run with a long, towering double in the first inning. On the mound, he scattered seven hits over seven innings, struck out five and walked one to improve his season record to 8-2 and put his team into the semifinals against Riverside Prep Tuesday, June 3.
After senior Emmany Godinez had walked and been picked off first base to open the first inning, junior Gehrig Kniffen beat out an infield hit and came home on Magnuson’s blast to left field. Kniffen later hustled out another infield hit and scored two runs for the Broncos; he leads the team with an eye-popping .541 batting average.
Godinez, who was later picked off first base for the second time — and who committed an miscue on a grounder at shortstop — provided a textbook example in the seventh inning as to how a baseball player can go from a being a goat to a hero in the same game.
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With two outs in the bottom of the seventh, one run already in and two Earwigs on base, the Dunn School batter hit a sharp liner that was ticketed for centerfield, but Godinez dove far to his left to make a brilliant stop on the ball. He flipped to second baseman Quinten Raethke in time for the force out at second to end the game.
Sophomore catcher Lane Sutherland had two hits (and three RBI), including a line smash double just fair down the third base line that scored two insurance runs in the top of the seventh. He is hitting .389 on the season.
Senior second baseman (who will pitch in the Broncos semifinal game Tuesday, June 3) Quinten Raethke had two hits, drove in a run and scored a run for Coast Union, upping his batting average to a lofty .478. He was also a victim of being picked off first base by Dunn’s lefty pitcher, who had as good a move to first as has been seen by this reporter in high school baseball in 2014.
Asked for his reactions to Friday’s win against Dunn School, Head Coach Brian Machado summed up the game with four words: “Timely hitting and good defense.” He said that Sutherland’s double down the line in the seventh inning was “the key hit. That double was it, we needed those two runs.
“I didn’t like getting picked off three times. We talked about it afterwards,” he said. But obviously since his team ended up winning the quarterfinal contest, the coach wasn’t too hard on Godinez and Raethke for getting hung out to dry.
The one main concern that Machado expressed in an interview on Monday was the health of his starting pitcher, Magnuson, who apparently strained his right hamstring running to first base late in the game. Magnuson iced his hamstring this past weekend and received therapy from a physical therapist on Monday; Machado believes that Magnuson will be ready to pitch in the championship game Saturday, June 7, at UC Riverside, should Coast Union (19-4) win the semifinal game Tuesday, June 3.
Coast Union vs. Riverside Prep
Game time is 3:15 p.m. Tuesday, June 3, at Riverside Prep (23-4-1) in Oro Grande, the runner-up in Cross Valley League and 10-7 victor over top-seeded Santa Clarita Christian, champions of the Heritage League, on May 30.
The semifinal game will be broadcast live on KTEA-FM 103.5 and streamed live at www.ktea-fm.com.