JUCO Baseball: Rams rally late to top Ohlone

Gavilan Rams

After giving up three runs in the first inning, Gavilan scored two in the ninth to win 5-4 and sweep conference leader Ohlone.
Gavilan came to bat in the bottom of the ninth down 4-3. With one out, Rex Lagman was walked by Ohlone pitcher Ronnie Reed. The next batter, Brennan Wilson, hit a double and advanced Lagman to third. Reed intentionally walked Bryant Cid to load the bases. Tony Amaral tied the game at four with a sacrifice fly to right field to score Lagman.
The stage was set for John Forestieri to be the game’s hero for Gavilan and he did not disappoint.
Forestieri hit a single between the first and second basemen to score Wilson from third. The Rams bench erupted and sprinted towards first base to congratulate Forestieri on his walk-off.
“He’s been throwing fastballs all game and on the first pitch, so I just came out and squared it up,” Forestieri said, who finished the game 2 for 5 with two RBIs.
Gavilan’s starting pitcher Gabe Katich gave up two singles to begin the game and found himself in trouble early.
The Rams defense didn’t provide much help, extending the inning with uncharacteristic sloppy plays. But Katich eventually ended the inning by striking out Renegades catcher Billy Damon.
“If they score one or two that’s fine because I know my team will come back,” Katich said.
Gavilan got one back in the first when Forestieri grounded to the shortstop and brought in Bryant Cid from third. The Rams had a man on second with one out, but Erik Barron struck out swinging and Tony Amaral was caught stealing third to complete the double play to end the threat.
Cid went 1 for 3 with two walks and a run scored, while Barron was hitless with a walk. Amaral went 1 for 3, walked once and scored a run.
Ohlone increased its lead to 4-1 in the sixth when Justin Chase scored from third on a passed ball. Chase had doubled to center field and advanced to third on a ground out to second base from the next batter. Katich would end the inning and his night by striking out Damon for the second time.
Katich completed six innings with one earned run, a walk and two strikeouts.
“My whole goal was to go six innings and to keep the team in the game,” said Katich.
“(Katich) is a little under the weather and a little sore this time of year like the rest of the pitchers,” Rams coach Neal Andrade said on the decision to pull Katich after the sixth.
Gavilan loaded the bases in the sixth when Amaral walked, Forestieri singled and Barron also garned a walk. Amaral took advantage of a wild pitch to score from third base. Unfortunately for the Rams, Matt Peterson hit a grounder to shortstop that began a double play for Ohlone to end the inning.
The Rams struck in the seventh when Brennan Wilson, who went 2 for 4 with an RBI and a run scored, brought in Tyler Slayday from third on a single. Though the bases were loaded, Gavilan couldn’t push any more across as Forestieri made the final out with a ground ball to third base.
The Rams would stay within reach in the late innings thanks to their reliever Justin Tantog. He took over for Katich in the seventh and threw three solid innings.
In the seventh inning, he took care of the Renegades with three consecutive groundouts. In the eighth, Tantog had all three batters go down with fly balls. He had a fly ball, a ground ball, and a strikeout to get through the ninth.
“Tantog comes in and throws three scoreless innings,” Andrade said. “Him holding it tight and getting through those seven, eight and nine on our side was huge.”
Andrade continued: “Sweeping the first place team—taking three from them—is big, so hopefully we can take this win and finish off the season and maybe make a push for the championship in the playoff run.”
Gavilan also beat Monterey 3-1 Saturday at home and improved to 19-11 overall, 11-8 in conference play.
The Rams scored a run in the third, fourth and seventh innings. Amaral accounted for two of those RBIs with singles in the third and seventh to score Wilson and Cid, respectively.
Wilson singled in the fourth, scoring Nate Christopherson to put Gavilan up 2-0 at that point.
Monterey got its lone run off a homer from Adrian Banuelos in the top of the ninth.
Gavilan kicks off a four-game road trip Tuesday with a 2:30 p.m. game at Canada College.

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