CCL Week Seven Review, Playoff Preview

| August 2, 2021

The final week of the regular season has come to a close, and we are now set for the playoffs. Five teams will head north to Lincoln, Calif. to compete in a double elimination tournament from August 4-6. Healdsburg, Arroyo Seco, Lincoln, San Luis Obispo, and Conejo will have a chance to win a championship next week. Here is the last CCL week review (July 26-August 1) for all 10 clubs.

CCL North Division

(Team, league record, week record)

Healdsburg Prune Packers: 26-4 overall, 7-0 Week 7

The Prune Packers had a sensational closing out of their summer season, winning all seven of their final games, adding to their 11-game winning streak. They finished 26-4 in league play, to go along with a 42-5 overall record and the top overall seed in the playoffs.

Kimble Schuessler (Texas A&M) had a phenomenal week, earning nine hits and five RBI in 18 at-bats. Schuessler had an exceptional game in the Prune Packers 18-2 win over the Mudcats on Tuesday, where the sophomore went 4-5, tallying two RBI, a double and scored three runs.

Torin Montgomery (Missouri) added to the Prune Packers' excellence by racking up two homers and 10 RBI on the week, while scoring seven times. Montgomery popped off during the Prune Packers’ doubleheader against the Mudcats on Saturday, earning six RBI between both games, five of which came in game one.

Derek Bridges (Texas Tech) commanded the mound throughout his three games played. Bridges pitched a total of 4.2 innings this week where he allowed zero earned runs and struck out eight batters, adding to his 1.80 overall ERA.

The Prune Packers clinched a spot in the CCL tournament, but still have one more non-conference regular-season game on to play on Monday before they head north to Lincoln to compete in the playoffs. They will play the winner of the Oaks and Blues game at 2:30 p.m. on Wednesday.

-- Andi Basista

Lincoln Potters: 16-13 overall, 2-4 Week 7

The Lincoln Potters closed out their final week of CCL play with two wins; a 20-4 win against the Solano Mudcats, and a 6-4 victory against the Walnut Creek Crawdads. The Crawdads would seek their revenge, as they beat them twice this week, with the Potters losing by one run in both games. The Healdsburg Prune Packers also defeated them both contests, with a 9-4 and 11-2 win.

Trace Willhoite (Lipscomb) had an outstanding performance at the plate in their 20-4 win against the Mudcats. The infielder went a perfect 5-for-5, smashing three home runs and nine RBIs. Chase Stanke (Minnesota) was the most consistent batter for the Potters this week, going a combined 6-for-9 against the Crawdads and Packers. He also crushed a home run in their 2-1 loss against the Crawdads.

Starting pitcher Jack Horn (George Washington) held his own on the mound this week. The left-hander went a solid five innings, as he struck out four batters and only allowed three hits in the win. Cameron Saso (Abilene Christian) kept the Potters in the game against the Crawdads, striking out three batters in three innings, giving up just one hit in their 2-1 loss.

The Potters have clinched a spot in the CCL Playoffs in their own backyard in Lincoln. They square-off against the Arroyo Seco Saints on Thursday, August 4 at 7 p.m.

-- Gianna Cefalu

Walnut Creek Crawdads: 12-18 overall, 4-2 Week 7

The Crawdads finished their week strong, winning four of six to wrap up the season.

This week featured a couple star two-way performances. Infielder Trevor Werner (Texas A&M) finished the week batting 7-for-20 (.350) with one home run, two RBI and six runs scored.

Werner also made a relief appearance on July 27 in the team’s 5-4 win over Lincoln. Werner pitched 2.0 innings, allowing just two hits, one earned run and no walks while striking out six of eight batters faced and earning the win decision.

Pitcher Nathan Peng (UC Davis) had quite the week as well. Peng pitched 2.0 innings in the team’s 2-1 win over Lincoln on July 30, allowing one hit, no runs and striking out two batters. Peng also took a game at first base on July 28, going 2-for-4 with one home run, two RBI and two runs scored in a 5-4 win over Solano.

Pitcher Chris Gilmartin (UC San Diego) had a great week as well, but this time only on the bump. He won his start on July 28, pitching 5.0 innings and allowing one earned run and three hits while striking out eight.

The Crawdads finish the season 22-23 overall and 12-18 in conference.

-- Joe Pohoryles

Solano Mudcats: 6-24 overall, 0-6 Week 7

Justin Banks (St. Mary’s College) hit three home runs this week, knocking in seven RBI and slashing .333/.476/.762 in a standout performance.

Meanwhile, outfielder Kenny DeCelle (Santa Clara) went 6-for-22 (.273) with one RBI and three runs scored to round out a terrific season. DeCelle finishes the year batting .315 with an OPS of .740 with two home runs, 18 RBI, 19 runs scored and 10 stolen bases in conference, which nearly all rank within the top three of the team in each category (OPS is fifth).

On the mound, Nikolas Dodson (Waldorf) pitched 9.0 innings across four appearances. Dodson was lights out across his first two appearances, allowing just one earned run, walking one and striking out six through 4.1 innings.

The Mudcats finish the season 8-30 overall and 6-24 in conference.

-- Joe Pohoryles

CCL South Division

Santa Barbara Foresters: 23-7 overall, 6-0 Week 7

The Foresters kept on rolling through CCL league play this week, as they swept another week and finished the season on a 16-game winning streak. Santa Barbara is flaming hot heading into the postseason.

Nate Rombach (Texas Tech) went 9-for-22 with four RBIs, scoring seven runs in the process. Jared Thomas (Abilene Christian) provided lit up in the four games he played, going 4-for-9 including a 3-for-3 performance in their 6-5 win over the Oaks on Thursday.

Justin Eckhardt (Texas) was dominant in his start against the Barons, going six innings and giving up just three hits and one unearned run. He struck out five batters and lowered his season ERA down to 1.22.

The Foresters will take their momentum from their 16-game winning streak to Wichita, as they try to defend their 2020 NBC World Series Championship.

-- Emily Morton

Arroyo Seco Saints: 17-13 overall, 2-4 Week 7

After starting the week with two losses, the Saints came away with a walk-off victory against the Barons on Thursday night, locking them into a playoff spot. They knocked off the Riptide the next night, before dropping one to the red-hot Foresters and one to the Oaks in the regular season finale.

Brandon Bohning (Cal State Northridge) has really turned it on lately, hitting .348 on the week with four doubles and scoring four runs. Newcomer Tommy Castillo (Long Beach State) has fit perfectly into the Saints lineup, hitting .346 on the week with three doubles. He was thrown into the lead off spot and has scored five runs since the jump in the line up.

Tommy Steier (Creighton) had the Saints best start of the season in the win against the Barons on Thursday, throwing seven innings while giving up only one earned run. His slider had the Barons hitters whiffing all evening, as he struck out 12 batters.

The Saints will head into the playoffs as the second overall seed behind the Prune Packers. They will match-up with the third seeded Lincoln Potters at 7 p.m. PST on Wednesday, August 4.

-- Lucas Banks

San Luis Obispo Blues: 15-15 overall, 2-3 Week 7

The Blues finished their season with two losses to the Barons, but were able to come up with two wins on the week, giving them the fourth seed in the playoffs.

Ryan Cermak (Illinois State) led the team in hits this week, going 6-for-17 with two doubles and two RBIs. Ruben Mercado (San Jose State) and AJ Esperanza (Cuesta College) had three hits each in the three games they played, propelling the Blues offense and closing out their seasons on a high note.

Evan Larson (Concordia) had a strong last start of his regular season, pitching four shutout innings with five strikeouts, helping the Blues knock off the Oaks on Friday night.

The Blues will face the fifth seeded Conejo Oaks on Wednesday at 10am in their first game of these CCL playoffs, with the winner playing at 2:30 p.m. Wednesday against the Prune Packers.

-- Emily Morton

Conejo Oaks: 14-16 overall, 3-3 Week 7

The Conejo Oaks finished their regular season on a strong note, winning their last two games and clinching the last spot in the playoffs in the process. They came away with a huge 13-7 win against Orange County on Saturday, and followed it with a 14-3 win against the Saints to earn a fifth seed in the State Championship.

Brendan Bobo (Cal State Fullerton) helped push his team to the playoffs with consistent play in the final games before the postseason. Bobo had six hits throughout the week, three of which flew over the fence. The freshman gave the Oaks their best shot at winning in their 6-5 loss to the Foresters, where he scored two runs on three hits, hit two homers and recorded three RBI.

TJ Foreman (Austin Peay) kept the energy for the Oaks, going 7-for-13 with three doubles and one triple in his final week. The senior went 3-for-3 in the Oaks’ big win over the Saints, where he also scored two runs and recorded a double on the afternoon.

Tobias Plotkin (Glendale CC) pitched a solid game against the Saints on Saturday, tallying five strikeouts in 2.2 innings and only allowing one earned run.

The Oaks have clinched a spot in the CCL tournament and will travel to Lincoln this week to face the fourth seeded San Luis Obispo Blues at 10 a.m. on Wednesday, August 4.

-- Andi Basista

Orange County Riptide: 13-17 overall, 1-4 Week 7

The Riptide started off the last week of play on a good note, defeating the San Luis Obispo Blues 3-2, but would then go on a four game losing streak. Due to their late season slump, they barely missed the CCL playoffs by one game.

Against the Conejo Oaks, Gavin Haimovitz (Santa Barbara) had himself a night at the plate, going 3-for-5 with a double and a run scored. Terrence Simmons (Connecticut) had a solid performance the last two games against the Oaks and Foresters, going a combined 4-for-9 with three RBIs.

Pitcher Spencer Edwards (Cornell U) dominated on the mound, with eight strikeouts in 6.2 innings against the Foresters, allowing just two hits and one run to come across the board. Matthew Magre (Arkansas Fayetteville) went four innings against the Saints, striking out four and giving up just three hits.

The Riptide’s playoff fate was left up to the Arroyo Seco Saints, as they needed to defeat the Conejo Oaks in order for the Riptide to sneak in. The Saints lost 14-3, putting the Conejo Oaks in the last playoff spot.

-- Gianna Cefalu

Academy Barons: 8-22 overall, 3-3 Week 7

The Barons had one of their best weeks all season, grabbing three key wins and coming close to beating the Saints on Thursday. They beat the Oaks to start the week, and swept the Blues in San Luis Obispo this weekend to finish their season on a high note.

Jordan Williams (San Jacinto College North) was electric this week for the Barons, going 9-for-22 with five RBIs. He came up huge in the Barons win on Sunday, collecting five hits and two RBIs while scoring twice as well. Christian Webb (Seminole State College) was key in the Barons win over the Blues on Saturday night, going 2-for-4 with a homer and two RBIs, his first one of the summer.

.-- Lucas Banks

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