| August 4, 2022
(SAN LUIS OBISPO, CA) – The 2022 CCL State Championship Tournament presented by Firestone Walker Brewery got kicked off on Thursday morning as the Crawdads took on the Riptide. The game was highly contested but the Riptide knocked the Crawdads off 6-4 to take the Wildcard Game.
Reed Schaefer (Arizona) took the mound in the bottom of the first, striking out two Crawdad batters.
“Fastball, felt good, curveball felt good, just felt good overall,” Schaefer stated.
The Riptide drew first blood, with Gavin Mez (UNLV) scoring after roping a double off of the left field wall.
Jack Ben-Shoshan (Rice) sent Walnut Creek’s first hit out into the right field for a single, but was picked off of first base on an impressive move by Schaefer.
The name of the game continued to be defense and pitching through the early stages. Walnut Creek had an acrobatic catch to record the second out of the third inning, and followed it up with a unique 1-6-3 double play in the fourth.
The Crawdads took the lead in the bottom half of the fourth inning. Ryan Brome (Texas Tech) led off the inning with a single. Brome was then brought around to score after Ryan Ellis (St. Mary’s College) singled to put men on first and third.
The Riptide picked off Ellis for their second of the day, but in that effort Jack Ben-Shoshan took home as the inning ended.
The Riptide took the lead back in the fifth, as back-to-back hits by Isaiah Morales (Saddleback CC) and Gavin Haimovitz (Uncommitted) put two men in scoring position.
Sacrifice flies off the bats of Shane Taylor (Dixie St. College) and Santino Panaro (UNLV) brought the pair around to score and restore the one run lead for Orange County.
Walnut Creek threatened again in the bottom half of the inning. Casey Cummings (Univ. of San Diego) walked to start the inning, and Zachary Teijerio (Uncommitted) reached on error while bunting to move Cummings over.
A balk put the duo on second and Ryan Brome drove in a run of his own with a sacrifice fly ball to center field.
Only one scoreless frame happened before the Riptide regained the lead in the seventh. Isaiah Morales got the party started, sending a single into shallow right center. Shane Taylor then ripped a single of his own, bringing Morales around to take the lead.
Walnut Creek refused to roll over in the bottom half. Coleman Schmidt (St. Mary’s College) one hopped a ball off the center field wall to begin the inning. Ryan Brome then picked up his second RBI in three innings, tying the game up.
This game was back and forth the entire time, and the eighth inning was no different. Blake Penso (UC Irvine) led off the inning with his first hit of the game. After getting around the third, Isaiah Morales picked up his third hit of the game as Penso took back the lead.
“I was struggling for a while actually,” Morales said. “I just wanted to clear my head, simplify it. Hit the ball hard, anything that I can do to help.”
The final run was scored in the top of the ninth by Orange County. Santino Panaro reached base on an error with one out. Panaro took second with a steal, and Dominic Souto (Cal Berkeley) shot a single through the gap in the left side to put the final nail in the coffin.
Matt Maloney (New Mexico St.) earned his first save of the postseason. Entering the game in the bottom of the ninth and striking out one en route.
Striking out seven batters, Reed Schaefer was ecstatic to have received the ball for the Wildcard Game. “It felt good, knowing that I was gonna come out first game of the playoffs,” Schaefer said.
Schaefer and Morales both placed importance on the team playing loose, saying that this is something they have done lately and is part of their success.
Orange County Head Coach Tim Brown was proud of the way that his team played in the game. “It was a little bit different for us getting up at 7:30 in the morning,” Brown said. “We came out, we were focused, played good defense, and got pretty good pitching.”
Brown was also excited for Gavin Mez, who got his first double of the year in the game against Walnut Creek. “He’s been one of my most prolific hitters but it's all been singles,” Brown stated. “That’s what we had, we had two or three really timely doubles today. It made a big difference.”
The Riptide will play their second game of the tournament at 2:30 pm PST against the Conejo Oaks on Thursday, August 4.
The Crawdads will be back in action on the fifth of August at 10:00 am PST.
Follow the CCL on Twitter and Instagram to follow along with the games, or tune into the broadcast on the CCL Youtube!
Impact Player of the Game: Isaiah Morales (Saddleback CC)
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