A student-operated publication at Santa Rosa Junior College.

The Oak Leaf

A student-operated publication at Santa Rosa Junior College.

The Oak Leaf

A student-operated publication at Santa Rosa Junior College.

The Oak Leaf

SRJC Baseball picks up two wins led by dominant pitching vs Cabrillo College

Yna Bollock
Shortstop Aidan Lombardi fist-bumps third base coach Jeff Bart after diving safely into third in a 4-2 win against Cabrillo College at Santa Rosa’s Cook Sypher Field on Feb. 22, 2024.

Game One

The Santa Rosa Junior College baseball team held Cabrillo College to only two runs in back-to-back wins Thursday and Friday at Cook Sypher Field.

Kahiau Schenk took the ball to open the Thursday game. Schenk got the first out, then walked the next three batters to load the bases.

Right fielder Jacob Pappas drove in a run on a sac fly to give Cabrillo an early 1-0 lead. Hekili Robello replaced Schenk on the mound and got a quick third out.

Second baseman Tyler Nordkye led off for the Bear Cubs in the bottom of the first. He singled and advanced to third on a wild pitch and a passed ball, but didn’t score.

Robello gassed up the next three Cabrillo hitters, striking out the side in the top of the second. Cabrillo hitters couldn’t catch up to Robello’s high heat.

“He had several [pitches in the] 90[mph]’s,” said assistant coach Tom Francois. “He’s a 90+ guy.”

The Bear Cubs went down in order in the bottom of the second, grounding out three times.

Both sides had quiet third and fourth innings. Robello continued to overpower the Cabrillo hitters, hitting one with a pitch and immediately picking him off at first.

Robello surrendered his first and only walk of the game in the top of the fifth, but got out of the inning with no damage.

Francois spoke about Robello and the other Bear Cubs’ pitchers’ commitment to attacking the strike zone and not giving up walks.

“I’d rather see a guy [give up] a 450[-foot] shot than give up a base-on-balls,” Francois said. 

Left fielder Zane Bennett woke up the Bear Cubs’ bats in the bottom of the fifth by launching a line drive home run to left to tie the game 1-1. Bennett is tied with Modesto Junior College’s Bryce Campbell for the Big 8 conference lead with five home runs on the season. 

Robello pitched another shutdown inning in the top of the sixth, striking out two. 

SRJC added two more on a towering two-run bomb by center fielder Alex Leopard in the bottom of the sixth, giving the Bear Cubs a 3-1 lead. The home run was Leopard’s fourth of the season.

Robello induced three groundouts in the top of the seventh, two of which were diving plays by third baseman Keenan Morris.

The Bear Cubs tacked on another run in the bottom of the seventh on an RBI single from Leopard to make it 4-1.

Robello retired the Cabrillo offense in order for the third straight inning in the top of the eight. Through eight innings, Cabrillo didn’t have a single hit.

The Bear Cubs got a runner to second but didn’t score in the bottom of the eighth. Robello went into the ninth with a no-hitter still intact.

Robello got his ninth strikeout to open up the inning but allowed a double the next batter for Cabrillo’s first hit of the game.

He got another strikeout, his tenth of the game. With one out to go, Pappas drove a double down the line to drive in a run but was thrown out going for a triple to end the game.

With the Bear Cubs’ 4-2 win, they moved to 8-3 on the season. Robello got the win, continuing his excellent season. 

“I felt great,” Robello said. “I’ve got a solid defense behind me which makes me very comfortable.”

Robello has a 4-0 record with a Big 8 conference-best 0.95 ERA so far in 2024. 


Game Two

Tony Suarez took the ball in Saturday’s game and struck out two in a shutdown first inning. The Bear Cubs got out to an early 1-0 lead on an RBI single from Josh Martin.

Suarez got into a bit of trouble in the top of the second, allowing a run on three straight singles by Cabrillo to tie the game 1-1. 

After a quiet bottom of the second, Brice Cox took over for Suarez to start the third. In 10 and ⅓ innings on the year, Suarez has a 2.61 ERA in his role as an opener.

Throughout this season, the Bear Cubs have used the opener method as opposed to a starter who ideally pitches five or more innings.

“If we get six outs out of a guy like Tony Suarez that means the next guy can go longer,” Francois said. “Brice Cox can go six innings without a lot of pressure and wear and tear on his arm.”

Cox pitched a clean top of the third, striking out two. The Bear Cubs got runners on second and third in the bottom of the inning but did not manage to score.

Cox set down Cabrillo in order in the top of the fourth, striking out two more. SRJC then jumped out to a 3-1 lead on a two-run double by second baseman Tyler Nordyke.

After a quiet fifth inning by both sides, Cabrillo added a run on a fielder’s choice in the top of the sixth. The ball would’ve likely gone for a double or more if not for a diving play by third baseman Keenan Morris.

Morris got a run right back for the Bear Cubs by launching a solo homer in the bottom of the sixth to make it 4-2.

Later in the same inning, Jake McCoy launched a three-run shot to increase the lead to 7-2. McCoy was injured for the first seven games of the season and has since homered in four of his first five games.

Cox pitched clean seventh and eighth innings, adding a strikeout in each. The Bear Cubs got a runner to third in the seventh and loaded the bases in the eighth but failed to score.

Christian Schiavo took over for Cox in the ninth. He got two outs and walked two before McCoy took over on the mound and got a strikeout for the final out.

Brice Cox picked up the win and lowered his ERA to 1.50 on the season. The Bear Cubs are now 9-3 on the season, having won their fourth in a row, and eighth of their last nine.

The Bear Cubs will look to continue their win streak in their first conference matchup at 2 p.m. on Tuesday at home against Folsom Lake.



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About the Contributors
Oliver Kindt
Oliver Kindt, Reporter
Oliver Kindt (he/him) is a journalism major in his second semester at SRJC and first at The Oak Leaf. He is an aspiring sports writer who will be covering primarily baseball and softball this spring.
Yna Bollock
Yna Bollock, Reporter
Yna Bollock is in her first semester with the Oak Leaf. She has been working on prerequisites for the last two semesters and is elated to begin major specific requirements for the journalism program, specifically photojournalism. Prior to pursuing a photojournalism degree, she graduated from SRJC’s culinary program in 2013. In 2020, following a layoff from the hospitality industry, Yna graduated from the CNA program in June in an effort to stay gainfully employed throughout the pandemic. Now in 2024, she is on track to graduate with a bachelor’s of arts in photojournalism.

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