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 comes out on top in slugfest with Modesto

Yna Bollock
Starting pitcher Hekili Robello pitches for 5 ⅔ innings with 10 hits and seven runs allowed, while still striking out eight against Modesto Junior College at Santa Rosa’s Cook Sypher Field on Thursday, April 11, 2024.

In what was chalked up to be a pitcher’s duel, the Santa Rosa Junior College baseball team came out on top in a 12-8 slugfest with Modesto Junior College at home on Thursday.

Hard throwing ace Hekili Robello took the ball for the Bear Cubs. In 72 innings, Robello has a 2.50 ERA with 8.88 K/9 and a 0.99 WHIP. His ERA and strikeout numbers are both second in the conference.

Robello took on Modesto’s ace, Christopher Nino in what was expected to be a pitchers duel. 

Center fielder Alex Leopard jump-started the SRJC offense by launching a towering 2-run homer in the bottom of the first. The Bear Cubs increased the lead to 4-0 the next inning on RBI doubles by third baseman Keenan Morris and shortstop Aidan Lombardi.

Robello got into some trouble in the top of the third, allowing two runs on three hits to cut the lead in half to 4-2. 

Morris got on base with his second hit in as many chances in the bottom of the third, before second baseman Jordan Giacomini was simultaneously called out on a controversial called third strike and interference call while Morris attempted to steal. 

The result was an unusual inning ending double-play, much to the dismay and confusion of the home crowd and Bear Cubs dugout.

The Bear Cubs offense bounced back in the bottom of the fifth, scoring three on three hits and two sacrifice flies to take a 7-2 lead. 

Robello got into more trouble in the top of the sixth, allowing three straight two-out singles to load the bases. After an infield single scored a run to make it 7-3, Modesto pinch hitter Titus Wheelock hit a grand slam to tie the game at 7-7.

Bear Cubs Outfielder and pitcher Alex Leopard is all smiles after hitting a two-run home run in the bottom of the first against Modesto Junior College on Thursday, April 11, 2024 in Santa Rosa. (Nick Vides)

Collin Medeiros took over for Robello, who had an uncharacteristically rough outing, going 5 ⅔ innings with 10 hits and seven runs allowed, while still striking out eight. Medeiros made a tough play covering first to record the third out and escape any further damage.

The Bear Cubs took the lead back in the bottom of the sixth on a RBI single by right fielder Jake McCoy. Modesto tied the game again on a sac fly in the top of the seventh making it 8-8.

SRJC made a statement in the bottom of the seventh, scoring three on four hits to take an 11-8. Left fielder Zane Bennett tacked on an insurance run in the bottom of the eighth with a monster solo shot that cleared the net beyond the left field fence and landed on the soccer field behind Cook Sypher field. 

The Bear Cubs held onto the 12-8 lead, with Leopard and McCoy pitching the final three innings and sealing the win.

“Our guys kept fighting and kept coming back,” said assistant coach Tom Francois. “I respect that more than anything. They didn’t just roll over.”

SRJC totalled a whopping 17 hits, led by Leopard with three hits including a home run and a double, Lombardi with three hits including two doubles and Bennett with two hits including a home run. Morris, first baseman Josh Martin, and catcher Cameron Duran all had two hits as well.

With Thursday’s win, the Bear Cubs move to 11-6 in conference play this season, 4th in the Big 8 conference. Overall they are 23-10 on the season. 

With the playoffs inching closer, the Bear Cubs will look to sweep Modesto at their home on Friday, and carry momentum through the final stretch of the regular season.

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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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    Leilani SmithApr 12, 2024 at 5:10 pm

    Thanks for the awesome coverage on the team Oliver! Reading your article all the way from Hawaii…