An explosive second inning leads Bear Cubs to their second straight win


Nick Vides

Bear Cubs pitcher Hekili Robello warms up after a near-hour long bottom of the second inning against San Mateo College on Tuesday, Feb. 14, 2023 in Santa Rosa.

Tony Moeckel, News Editor

After a shaky start, allowing four runs in the top of the second, the Bear Cubs answered right back with a season-record seven runs in one inning to overcome an early deficit.

The Bear Cubs survived the top of the second after Head Coach Damon Neidlinger brought in right-handed pitcher Hekili Robello. Robello closed out the disastrous inning with two strikeouts to keep San Mateo to four runs. “Also it was great to see Robello pitch very well,” Neidlinger said

Right-fielder Jake McCoy and first-baseman Ian Avalos picked up where they left off from last game, both hitting a single to left field to start the Bear Cubs’ charge. San Mateo’s pitcher Joey Cirelli walked Santa Rosa outfielder Bryce Cannon to load the bases for the Bear Cubs.

Catcher Ty Blakely followed Cannon and hit into a fielder’s choice, earning himself an RBI in the process, to put the first points on the board for the Bear Cubs.

After Blakley’s RBI, a storm of doubles came from the Bear Cubs’ dugout. Outfielder Alex Leopard, infielder Aidan Lombardi, infielder Connor Sharpio and pitcher Austin Ehrlicher hit four straight doubles to catapult the Bear Cubs to their first lead of the game.

“I have been at SRJC for quite a few years and have not seen four doubles in a row,” Neidlinger said. “What’s significant is the team did it against a quality pitcher like Cirelli.”

The San Mateo coaching staff finally made a pitching change after Santa Rosa’s eruption of offense, in an effort to get out of the inning — but the Bear Cubs weren’t finished scoring yet. In his second at-bat of the inning, Avalos hit his second single of the game, this time to right field, and sent Ehrlicher home for the Bear Cubs seventh run.

“It was great to see the offense respond with seven runs after going down four,” Neidlinger said. 

Despite the Bulldogs scoring three runs in the final three innings, the Bear Cubs held on to their lead from the second inning and beat San Mateo 8-7. Cannon pushed the Bear Cubs to victory down the stretch with a solo-home run in the bottom of the seventh.