The competition for the crown came down to Heritage and Deer Valley. The Wolverines handed the Patriots their only league loss this year: a surprising 14-0 blowout on May 13. But the Patriots won the series, accounting for Deer Valley’s only league losses and a regular season record of 13-2 (19-4 overall). Both teams qualified for the North Coast Section playoffs, which started this week, the results of which were not available at press time.
Heritage finished the season strong after the stunning shutout by Deer Valley, winning the last two games by scores of 15-5 over Antioch and 10-2 in the season finale at Liberty. The win over Liberty was due to a strong effort on the mound by Heritage’s Chad Radelich, hitting by just about everyone on the Patriots and aggressive base running that induced Liberty errors.
An example of the latter led to the first run of the game in the second inning when leadoff batter Jeff Casperson hit a single, stole second and came all the way home on two throwing/catching errors as he rounded the bases. The second run resulted from Jordan Heald-Mullins doubling in Zach Wilson, who had singled and taken second on a wild pitch. Heald-Mullins then stole third, and a pitch later – in the play of the game – stole home, catching the Lions flat-footed.
Heritage added three more runs the next inning on three walks and a single. The first run occurred on a Landon Newton single. The next two resulted from Newton stealing second, a bad throw to second on the steal, Paul Blackburn coming home from third on the bad throw and Newton following him home on the throwing errors. At that point, with a 6-0 lead, the game was pretty much over.
Liberty got on the board in the third when a Dillon Gallegos single knocked in a run. The Lions’ last run occurred when Hector Torres was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded.
Heritage answered back in the fourth with more aggressive base running by Heald-Mullins. He singled, stole second, went to third on a ground out and came home on an overthrow to third. The Patriots’ last three runs came on a homer by Ryan Atlas with two runners on base.
Heritage looked and played like a finely tuned machine ready to charge out of the regular season into playoff action. However, it will be a tall order to repeat the success of last year’s Freedom team, which shut out De La Salle to win the NCS championship in the Oakland Coliseum.
Freedom came in third in league this year, finishing 7-8 in BVAL play and 8-16 overall. The Lions finished the season 4-11 in league and 4-20 overall. Antioch was 4-11 in league and 7-17 overall. And Pittsburg came in last with a 3-12 league record, 4-19 overall.