Late Game Heroics Push Pilots into Semifinals

Dylan Stewart Twitter--SJND senior threw nine strikeouts and drove in the game-tying run in the Pilots' 6-5 NCS quarterfinal victory on May 21.

Late Game Heroics Push Pilots into Semifinals

The St. Joseph Notre Dame (SJND) baseball team advanced to the North Coast Section (NCS) Div. IV baseball semifinals after scoring three runs in the final inning to overtake Piedmont High on Saturday, May 21 at College of Alameda.

SJND freshman Robbie Fintland jumpstarted the Pilots’ comeback. The Pilots were down 5-3 in the bottom of the seventh with one out and two runners on base. Fintland drove in a run with a single off Highlander junior pitcher Will Sprague to cut the deficit to 5-4. The next batter, Pilot senior Dylan Stewart, drove in the tying run with a single to right. After a walk loaded the bases, Sprague walked SJND junior Tommy Cooke to drive in Fintland for the walk off run and the 6-5 Pilot victory.

The Pilots (19-7) took advantage of Sprague. He allowed three earned runs in two-thirds of an inning.

It appeared Piedmont took control of the game after Highlander sophomore Nico Defazio hit a two-run single off Stewart, a Pepperdine University commit, in the top of the fourth inning to increase their lead to 5-1 with no outs — Stewart was not charged with the two runs as they were already on base when he took the mound. Stewart rebounded and held Piedmont scoreless in the remaining four innings of the game while throwing nine strikeouts and allowing just three walks.

The Pilots scored a run in the bottom of the fourth and sixth innings to cut their deficit to 5-3 entering the final inning.

Cooke led the Pilots with two RBIs, while going 1-for-3 at the plate. Pilot junior Josh Vonnegut also batted in a run.

The four-seed Pilots will face the eight-seed Redwood Christian of San Lorenzo in the NCS Div. IV semifinals on Wednesday, May 25, after the Eagles upset the one-seed Arcata High, 11-5, on Saturday. Because the Pilots are the higher seed, the game will be played at College of Alameda at 7 p.m.

Alameda High
The Alameda High baseball team (19-8) lost in the first round of the NCS Div. II playoffs to California High of San Ramon, 4-3, on May 18.