Orange County Beats Healdsburg, Conejo Beats Santa Barbara, Will Meet in Championship Game

Updated: July 28, 2018

July 28, 2018
Thousand Oaks, CA

The Orange County Riptide and the Conejo Oaks will meet tomorrow in the 2018 California Collegiate League Championship Game after each team won a first-round playoff game today at Sparky Anderson Field. The Riptide scored nine runs in their last at bat and beat the Healdsburg Prune Packers 11-9 in the first of two playoff games today, and Conejo scored three runs in their first at bat and held on to beat the No. 1 seeded Santa Barbara Foresters 3-2 in the second game.

Trailing 9-2 heading into the bottom of the eighth inning, Orange County put together a remarkable rally that was capped by a two-out, two-run single by Micah Pries (Pt. Loma) that gave the Riptide the lead they would never forget. The remarkable part of the rally, really, was how they tied the game: ninety feet at a time, literally. Orange County sent ten batters to the plate before an out was recorded. All ten batters reached first base either by one of the eight singles or two walks collected and, once they were on first base, they each, in turn, moved to second base with the next single or walk, then to third base and then to home, never trying to take an extra base or score from second on a hit to the outfield. They did this station-to-station thing for ten straight batters as Healdsburg utilized four pitchers to stop the parade around the bases, but it never stopped until the score was tied. Chrit Rudkin (Montevallo), the fourth Healdsburg pitcher of the eighth inning snagged another sure hit headed for centerfield after the tying run scored, threw home to start a 1-2-3 double-play that seemed sure to end the rally, but the next pitch he threw after the double-play was a fastball that Pries lined into right field that scored the Riptide’s two go-ahead runs. Ryan Sublette (Texas Tech), the fifth pitcher utilized in the game by Orange County, pitched around a one-out walk and single to hold Healdsburg scoreless in the ninth inning and close out the win for the Riptide. Cassius Hamm (Northridge) was the starting pitcher for the Riptide today, throwing four scoreless innings while striking out five before allowing a run in the fifth inning when Wendell Champion II (Houston) hit a two-out solo home run to put Healdsburg up 1-0. Healdsburg’s starting pitcher, Chase Gardner (UConn), was never scored upon. Gardner pitched four innings, facing one batter over the minimum twelve as both of the runners who reached via a hit were erased on the bases, one on a steal attempt and the other in the front end of a double-play. The Riptide tied the score in their half of the fifth inning when Chase Sebby (Ball State) reached on a two-base error and scored on another error, Healdsburg added two runs in the sixth when Sam Wezniak (Cal) hit an RBI-single and a wild pitch plated another, and Orange County made the score 3-2 when Steve Curry (Georgia Southern) hit a double in the bottom of the sixth and score on Austin Sojka’s (OK Wesleyan) second double of the game. Healdsburg then rallied for five runs in the seventh inning, scoring on a bases loaded walk, a sacrifice fly, a wild pitch, an error and an RBI-double by Dane Tofteland (Indiana St) that gave the Packers what seemed to be a comfortable 9-2 lead. But then the Riptide’s eighth inning rally happened.

Click here for the boxscore of this game

Chase Cockrell (Ole Miss) and Elijah Alexander (Rio Grande Valley) each doubled in the first inning, driving in three runs, Dylan Francis (Cal Poly Pomona) struck out seven over six innings, and Jackson Simonsgaard (Roger St) struck out five in two and two-thirds innings of scoreless relief to lead the Conejo Oaks to a 3-2 win over the Santa Barbara Foresters in the second playoff game today. Cockrell and Alexander’s doubles were the biggest of the six hits the Oaks collected against Santa Barbara’s starting pitcher Caleb Sloan (TCU) and, after Tanner Bibee (Cal St. Fullerton) relieved Sloan to get the last out of the second inning, they would be the biggest hits of the game as the Oaks would not threaten to score the again, collecting only two more hits as Bibee and Hunter Breault (Oregon) completely shutdown the Conejo offense. Bibee pitched four and one third innings scoreless, allowing only a Cockrell single to lead off the sixth inning and striking out two, while Breault retired nine of the ten batters he faced, five via strikeouts and allowed only a two-out triple in the seventh inning to Michael Spears (Ole Miss). The Oaks pitching, however, was up to the challenge. Francis started on the mound for Conejo and threw three scoreless innings with five strikeouts before Michael Neustifter (Oklahoma St) singled to lead off the fourth inning and scored on a Utah Jones (North Greenville) RBI-single, and Ryan Cash (Oklahoma St) hit a two-out solo home run in the fifth to make the score 3-2. Francis got out of the fifth inning without further damage and retired the side in order in the sixth, adding another strikeout, before turning the pitching duties over to Simonsgaard. Simonsgaard was stellar today, retiring the side in order in the sixth, seventh and eight innings, and striking out the first batter he faced in the ninth before allowing his first baserunner when he hit Conner Woods (UNLV) with a pitch. Simonsgaard retired the next batter on a line-out and had a chance to close out the win but Tyler Hardman (Oklahoma) hit a single that advanced Woods, with the tying run, to third base and Angus Denton (Arkansas) relieved Simonsgaard and struck out the only batter he faced to close out the win.

Click here for the boxscore of this game

The Riptide and Oaks will meet in the single, winner-takes-all CCL Championship Game tomorrow at noon at Sparky Anderson Field.

Click here for more details and how to watch the game live on YouTube

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