Playing in a virtual one-game playoff with the winner advancing to the CIF-Southern Section Division 2 playoffs, the Atascadero High baseball team edged Nipomo 3-2 on the road Friday to clinch the PAC 7’s fourth seed and keep its season alive.
“If Nipomo won we were out,” Greyhounds coach Dan Butz said. “Win and you’re in or lose, go home and hope to get lucky with an at-large spot, which seems to be difficult for teams from so far away from the heart of the Southern Section.”
Both Atascadero and Nipomo owned the tiebreaker with Pioneer Valley, so with the three teams coming into the final day tied for fourth, the winner moved on.
Bryce Cherry, Joey Dodds and Tanner Thompson all had a hit and an RBI for the Greyhounds (14-13, 8-10).
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Nipomo (13-13, 7-11) standout and Cal State Northridge-bound Jeff McNeil had a single and a double, scoring twice.
“I can see how Northridge loves Jeff McNeil,” Butz said. “It seems like every time he gets on base he scores. The key to beating (Nipomo) is to keep him off base.”
Even when McNeil wasn’t reaching base he nearly helped the Titans clinch the playoff berth for themselves.
With one out in the seventh, McNeil hit a fly ball that was within feet of being a homer, according to Butz. The fly out advanced the tying run to third base.
With runners on first and third, Nipomo opted to try the delayed double steal, but Atascadero had a play ready with the second baseman cutting off the throw and firing home, where the Titans’ runner was tagged out at the plate to preserve the win.
“We definitely squeaked on by,” Butz said. “But we’ll see who we play next and see what we can do.”
Morro Bay 5, St. Joseph 4
Dom Woods’ walk-off single in the eighth inning gave the Pirates (6-17, 3-9 Los Padres League) the win over the Knights at Morro Bay.
Rico Caravalho hit a triple in the seventh inning for Morro Bay to drive in the tying run.
Tyler Lee had one double for Morro Bay, and Cole Mauter threw three shutout innings in relief to get the win.
No. County Christian 5, Shandon 4
The undefeated Crusaders got their biggest test of the season, needing to score in the final innings to get the win.
Caleb Katches just beat the throw to the plate on a Josh Feld line drive to the outfield, and North County Christian (16-0, 12-0) completed a flawless regular season.
Shandon’s Tommy Harris, who leads the Coast Valley League in strikeouts, added eight more to his season total.
Taylor Brard pitched 22⁄3 hitless innings for the Crusaders, and Katches finished 3 for 4 at the plate with two RBI and the game-winning run.
Mission Prep 13, Coast Union 1
Ray Hurwitz was 3 for 3 with a double, triple and four RBI for the Royals (12-13).
Kevin Laird hit a game-ending grand slam to invoke the mercy rule in the fifth inning for Mission Prep, which awaits CIF-Central Section divisional playoff seeding.
Arcadia 12, Arroyo Grande 6
The Eagles saw their historic season come to a close against the No. 4 seed in the second round of the CIF-Southern Section Division 2 playoffs.
Eli Whittle and Sean Hollister won two of three sets for Arroyo Grande (17-4), as did the doubles team of Evan Lange and Danny Williams.
The Eagles won their first PAC 7 championship in 26 years and will see Whittle play at the CIF-Southern Section individual meet at Cate High next week.
“We’ve had a tremendous run this season and it’s been a great opportunity to work with these boys and be part of history for Arroyo Grande tennis,” Eagles coach Lori Hollister said.
Arroyo Grande, San Luis Obispo at CIF-Southern Section Division 2 prelims
Mia Schachter led Arroyo Grande by earning automatic All-American status with a split of 50.90 seconds in the 400 free relay, breaking the school record and recording the fastest 100 free split of the meet in Long Beach.
The relay team, also consisting of Melanie Johnson, Kim Johnson and Claren Ruth, is seeded third heading into today’s finals after clocking in at 3:38.57.
Schachter will also swim in the finals of the 100 fly (57.37) and 100 breaststroke (1:05.63) after earning All-American consideration times in each event.
The 200 free relay team of the Johnsons, Schachter and Katie Sverchek will swim in the consolation finals after finishing 10th in 1:41.59.San Luis Obispo had two qualifiers for the finals.
Alan Peterson qualified for the finals of the boys 500 free in a season-best 4:45.08, and the 200 free relay team of Graham Gordon-Johnson, Erik Holtz, Josh Pearl and Dragan Dincic had a season best time of 1:29.70.
Morro Bay at CIF-Southern Section Division 4 finals
Laura Clark won the girls 200 freestyle in 1:54.76 on Thursday in Long Beach.
Kendall Swanson finished second in the girls 50 free in 24.98 and earned All-American consideration in the 100 breaststroke in a time of 1:05.65.
The Pirates girls finished sixth in the team race, winning the consolation final of the girls 200 medley with Clark, Swanson, Mel Freeborn and Catalina Hubbard finishing in 2:00.45.
The boys team finished 13th, led by Trent Popovich, who finished seventh in the 100 butterfly in 55.21 seconds.
Mission Prep 17, Coast Union 0
Mission Prep pitcher Amanda Souchek allowed just three hits in a shutout win.
Ally Kersthold was 2 for 3 with a grand slam and five RBI, while Andrea Fernandez added a solo home run for the Royals.
Jenna Dunbar opened the scoring with a three-run triple in the first inning.
The Royals (10-6) are awaiting CIF-Central Section divisionl playoff seeding and will play a first-round game Wednesday.
No. County Christian 11, Shandon 1, 5 innings
Shandon pitchers walked 14 batters and hit two more in a five-inning loss.
MacKenzie Ricks was 2 for 3 with a run scored and four RBI for the Crusaders (13-4, 11-4 Coast Valley League), who clinched second place in league with the win.
Laura Tapanes added a double with three runs scored, and Kelsey Paulus gave up just one hit and struck out eight in a complete-game victory.