Bear Cubs storm through Butte in first round of playoffs

Anthony Sosa, Staff Writer

The Santa Rosa Junior College baseball team completed a three-game series sweep of Butte College in the first round of the California Community College Athletic Association playoffs at Cooks-Syper Field May 2.

The Bear Cubs starting pitchers dominated the Roadrunners. Alec Rennard and Garrett Hill combined for 17 innings and allowed only one run.

May 1: In the first game of the series, the Bear Cubs jumped out to an early 1-0 lead in the third inning on a sacrifice fly by left fielder Mitchell West. They tacked on another run in the fourth inning to increase their lead to 2-0. That was all that Rennard needed.

Rennard pitched eight shutout innings for the Bear Cubs. He also recorded four strikeouts, and retired the last 10 batters. In doing so, Rennard picked up his first career college playoff win.

The Bear Cubs’ offense gave Rennard plenty of late-inning run support. In the seventh inning Bear Cubs first baseman Weston Bryan broke the game open with a two-out, two-RBI triple to give the Bear Cubs a 4-0 lead.  In the eighth inning the Bear Cubs scored four more runs to make it an 8-0 game. West provided two of those runs, and Bryan had another RBI.

“It was helpful that we were able to put on more runs toward the end of the game,” Bryan said. Both West and Bryan combined to knock in six of the team’s eight runs in game 1.

Evan Hill came into close the game out in the ninth inning for the Bear Cubs, sealing the 8-0 game 1 victory for SRJC.

May 2: The second game of the series resulted in the same offensive struggles for the Roadrunners. Garrett Hill pitched a complete game. He only allowed one run, recording four strikeouts and like Rennard, earned his first career college playoff win.

“It was one of those days where everything felt right,” Garrett Hill said. “I knew it was a big game, but I just stayed within myself and focused on hitting my spots. It was my first complete game this year, and I feel like it was the perfect time for it to happen.”

The Bear Cubs similar to game 1 got their scoring started in the third inning. A sacrifice fly by catcher Ryan Haug put SRJC on top 1-0. Later in the inning, West knocked in two runs with a double to make it a 3-0 lead.

Both offenses were silenced until the Bear Cubs came to bat in the top of the ninth inning. West hit another two-RBI double, giving SRJC a 5-0 lead.

The Roadrunners finally put a run on the board in the bottom of the ninth inning, but Hill shut them down to conclude a 5-1 victory for the Bear Cubs.

West knocked in four of the Bear Cubs’ five runs in game 2, and knocked in a total of seven in the two games. “We worked very hard on our hitting all week,” West said . “My seven RBIs were largely in part to my teammates getting on base before me.”

The second round of the CCCAA playoffs begin May 9 and 10 where the Bear Cubs play at home against the College of San Mateo.