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 baseball picks up shutout win in final regular season home game of the season

Yna Bollock
Catcher Cameron Duran slides home safely after third baseman Keenan Morris hits a single to right field in the bottom of the sixth against American River College at Santa Rosa’s Cook Sypher Field on Thursday, April 25, 2024.

With playoffs around the corner, the Santa Rosa Junior College baseball team picked up a crucial 9-0 win over American River at home April 25.

The Bear Cubs’ always reliable ace, Hekili Robello, led the team with contributions from the bottom of the lineup from catcher Cameron Duran and third baseman Keenan Morris.

Robello pitched seven scoreless innings with five strikeouts and no walks. He lowered his season ERA to 2.09 to go along with 80 strikeouts in 86 innings, and a 0.94 WHIP. 

Through three innings, American River starter Jake Morell matched Robello with three scoreless innings, before the Bear Cubs bats came to life in the bottom of the fourth.

After a single by right fielder Jake McCoy and a walk by left fielder Zane Bennett, Duran drove both home on a line drive single up the middle. Duran then scored on another line drive single by second baseman Gabe Henschel to give SRJC a 3-0 lead.

The Bear Cubs scored a fourth run on a sacrifice fly by McCoy in the bottom of the fifth, immediately followed by a solo shot by Bennett to increase the lead to 5-0. The home run was Bennett’s 12 of the year, the most in the Big 8 conference. 

A sixth run scored in the bottom of the sixth on a single by Morris that brought home Duran. Morris went 3-for-3 on the day. Duran went 2-for-4 with 2 RBIs. Duran is up to a .297 average on the year, performing well in the starting catcher role he entered mid-season. 

Cameron Duran celebrates with his teammates after Henschel’s single down centerfield brings him home in the bottom of the fourth against American River College at Santa Rosa’s Cook Sypher Field on Thursday, April 25, 2024. (Yna Bollock)

[Head coach Damon Neidlinger] was straight up with me,” Duran said. “I’m an undersized guy, so he gave the bigger guys

a shot [first], but he told me to stay ready and that’s exactly what I needed to do. I got my opportunity, I took it, and I’m here every day now.”

Similar to Bear Cubs catcher and designated hitter Mason Cox, Duran has found success with a simple approach.

“I’m not the power guy here,” said Duran. “I got guys that can handle that for me. My job is to hit low line drives on the ground, get on base, pull for my team and do anything I can do to win.”

Sidearmer Collin Medeiros took over for Robello with a 6-0 lead in the top of the eighth and allowed two hits before getting a ground ball double play followed by a strikeout to escape unscathed. 

Following Morris’ third hit, Mason Cox drove a double down the left field lead to increase the lead to 7-0 in the bottom of the eighth. Center fielder Alex Leopard added insult to injury by launching a 2-run opposite field homer, his 11th home run of the season. 

Medeiros entered the ninth with a 9-0 lead. Bennett prevented a potential lead off double by gunning out the runner at second. Medeiros then got two quick outs to seal the win for the Bear Cubs. 

Outfielder Zane Bennett scores on catcher Cameron Duran’s single to right field in the bottom of the fourth against American River College at Santa Rosa’s Cook Sypher Field on Thursday, April 25, 2024. (Jonathan Cangson)

Duran, second baseman Gabe Henschel and Morris came up big in the last three spots in the order for the Bear Cubs, going a combined 6-for-10 with four RBIs on the day. 

“The production from the bottom of the order is more important than it is at the top,” said Francois. “Our brand of baseball is station to station. Get them on, get them over, get them in. It’s just station to station baseball. Today, we executed that. Hopefully, we’ll do that again tomorrow.”

Francois’ wishes came true, as the Bear Cubs won 13-1 in the final regular season game of the season. SRJC finished 16-8 in conference play and third place in the Big 8. Their 28-12 overall record was the best in the conference. Regional playoffs will begin May 4, with seeding yet to be determined.

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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.
Jonathan Cangson
Jonathan Cangson, Reporter
Jonathan Cangson (he/him) is in his fourth semester of The Oak Leaf as a reporter and editor focused primarily on sports coverage and social media coverage. He hopes to graduate soon with his associates in Journalism. He also hopes to become a broadcast journalist and commentate for a company like ESPN or Sky Sports. He likes to play with his dogs, hang out with friends, and watch Arsenal FC and the Golden State Warriors.

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