| August 4, 2022
(SAN LUIS OBISPO, CA) - The Conejo Oaks came int the 2022 CCL State Championship presented by Firestone Walker Brewing Company as the #1 seed and certainly played like it on Thursday, posting a six-run first inning en route to an 8-2 victory over the Orange County Riptide.
Conejo’s colossal opening frame began with Oregon teammates Tyler Ganus (Oregon) and Gavin Grant (Oregon) both reaching base via walks. Josiah Chavez (Cal Baptist) gave his squad a 2-0 lead when he knocked a two-RBI single into left-center field.
A groundout by Brendan Durfee and a single by AJ Salgado (UCLA) scored Chavez and Zach Daudet (Regis) respectively, adding a pair of runs. With two outs, Raul Sandoval (UC Davis) then sent a two-run shot over the center-field wall to put the Oaks up 6-0.
When asked about his first-inning bomb, Sandoval gave all the credit to Salgado, who beat out a throw for a tough infield single and kept the opening frame alive.
“Honestly, that home run wasn’t even on me,” recalled Sandoval. “That was good hustle on the batter before, he beat out a third to first, so he actually gave me a chance to get to the plate... Great job to him.”
Strong pitching from Riptide reliever Matthew Gaunt (Golden West College) helped stop the bleeding. The sophomore right-hander tossed two strikeouts while limiting Conejo to five hits and an unearned run through 6.0 innings pitched.
Orange County’s defense showed some flash in the fifth with two runners on, as second baseman Anthony Angel (CSU – Los Angeles) caught a line drive from Jack Brooks (Oregon) before tagging second, completing an impressive solo double play to end the inning.
Riptide catcher Jimmy Zakhar (Dayton) ended the shutout in the eighth when he slammed a solo home run into left, cutting the deficit to 7-1. However, Conejo responded in the bottom of the frame in the form of Tyler Ganus, who was hit by a breaking ball before stealing second and capitalizing on two wild pitches to cross home plate.
After a dominant start on the mound, Oaks’ starter Alexander Rivas was replaced by Charlie Adamson (Santa Barbara CC). Rivas dished out three K’s, relinquished seven hits and picked up the win in 8.0 innings of work. The Reseda, Calif. native said that he was ready to play in a high-stakes contest, but also praised his teammates for putting him in a good situation.
“Came in here today, it’s the biggest game of the summer, so came in here today competing... competed every single pitch,” Rivas said. “Obviously all my pitches were working today, but couldn’t have done it without my offense, and then my defense behind me, just making plays, getting me that confidence all day long.”
While Anthony Angel brought in Isaiah Morales (Saddleback CC) with an RBI double during the ninth, Adamson ultimately did his job, recording a strikeout, allowing two total baserunners and sealing an 8-2 victory for the Oaks.
After an impressive eight-run performance, Oaks’ manager David Soliz said he wants his team to continue stick with every pitch, something they’ve done for the entire season.
“What we’d like to carry over is the feeling the guys have of being with every pitch, every inning of every game. We’ve done that all summer and today we did it, and hopefully we carry that over tomorrow,” said Soliz.
The Oaks will square off against the winner of tonight’s the Healdsburg Prune Packers – San Luis Obispo Blues game tomorrow evening at 7:00 p.m. PST.
Be sure to follow the CCL on Twitter and Instagram or tune into the YouTube broadcast to stay up-to-date on all the playoff action.
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