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

Bear Cubs walk off for seventh straight win

Yna Bollock
Santa Rosa celebrates at first base after Henschel’s single to left field in the bottom of the ninth inning secures victory against San Joaquin Delta at Santa Rosa’s Cook Sypher Field on Tuesday, April 2, 2024.

The Santa Rosa Junior College baseball team picked up their seventh straight win in walk off fashion over San Joaquin Delta College at home on Tuesday. 

Aidan Lombardi

On Monday, on-base and defensive specialist shortstop Aidan Lombardi announced his commitment to New Mexico State University to play Division 1 baseball in 2025. Lombardi joins center fielder Alex Leopard as a fellow Division 1 commit on the Bear Cubs.

“I followed [head coach Damon Neidlinger’s] plan and became a more polished hitter,” Lombardi said. “I got a good scholarship, it’s gonna be a great opportunity to play, and the coaching staff is fantastic so it really checks all the boxes.”


The Game

Jordan Giacomini started on the mound for the Bear Cubs. He has a 4.50 ERA with a 6.14 K/9 and 1.55 WHIP in 44 innings. 

Giacomini got into some trouble in the top of the first, allowing two runs on three hits and a walk. The Mustangs held a 2-0 lead for the first four innings, and starter Logan Drummond didn’t allow a hit until the bottom of the fourth.

Outfielder and pitcher Alex Leopard is amped up after hitting a two-run home run on his birthday against San Joaquin Delta on Tuesday, April 2, 2024 in Santa Rosa. (Nick Vides)

In the bottom of the fifth, Leopard tied the game at 2-2 with a towering two-run home run. On his birthday, Leopard went 2-for-4 including the home run.

Luke Schat took over for Giacomini with one out in the top of the sixth. Giacomini turned in a strong outing after the rough first inning, going 5 ⅓ innings with two runs, six hits, four walks and a strikeout.

San Joaquin Delta jumped back ahead in the top of the seventh, taking a 4-2 lead on a double down the line by designated hitter Blaine French. 

The Bear Cubs still trailed 4-2 going into the ninth. Lombardi walked and Leopard singled to open up the bottom of the ninth.

With two runners on, designated hitter Jake McCoy cut the deficit to 4-3 by lining an RBI single to left. First baseman Josh Martin laid down a sacrifice bunt to move the runners to second and third.

Left fielder Zane Bennett was intentionally walked to load the bases and create a force out at every base. Catcher Cameron Duran then struck out, to bring up second baseman Gabe Henschel with the bases loaded and two outs, needing one run to tie and two to win.

After multiple tough takes and controversial calls, Henschel got to a full count. With the game on the line, Henschel lined a ball to the left just past the diving reach of Mustangs shortstop Gabe Natvidad.

“I was just trying to hit a line drive somewhere to get those guys to score,” Henschel said. “I had a few calls that didn’t go my way but it only takes one.”

Leopard scored easily from third, with McCoy chugging along behind him. The throw home was off-line, allowing McCoy to score and seal the 5-4 come-from-behind walk-off win.

“[McCoy’s] not the fastest guy but he looked pretty fast there,” Henschel joked. “I’m just happy to get a win for the guys and happy I could capitalize when needed.”

After being held to just two runs through eight innings, SRJC managed to score three in the ninth to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat, winning their seventh straight in the process.

Head Coach Damon Neidlinger’s fists are raised in triumph as Jake McCoy slides home and the rest of his team bolts to first base to celebrate their walkoff against San Joaquin Delta at Santa Rosa’s Cook Sypher Field on Tuesday, April 2, 2024.

“Henschel competed,” said assistant coach Tom Francois. “I’m just so happy for him.”

Francois thought the team should’ve never found themselves trailing going into the ninth. 

“We need to compete better,” said Francois. “I’m not gonna lie, I didn’t have any hope. It’s one of those games that you relish but did we deserve to win? We had four hits going into the bottom of the ninth. That’s pathetic.” 

The Bear Cubs will travel to Stockton for game two of a three game series against the Mustangs on Thursday.



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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.
Nick Vides
Nick Vides, Photo-Editor
Nicholas “Nick” Vides (he/him) Is a seasoned breaking news reporter dedicated to making sure every shutter click of his camera captures a moment worth sharing. Nick's itch for chasing fires has kept him busy over the past seven years, covering every major fire event in Northern California from the Paradise Fire to the Caldor Fire. Nick currently splits his time as a photojournalist with The Oak Leaf and as a Contract Photographer with The Press Democrat. He has more than nine years of experience with photography, has been director of photography for multiple short films with the SRJC Media Arts Center, directed numerous student-led broadcasts with his Media 19 class, and interned for The Sarah and Vinnie Show on Alice 97.3. In the little free time left, he works for Highway 12 Winery in Sonoma, California as a Cellar Hand.  
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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