05/05/2015 11:11 AM
Ten Things to Know about Sweets Baseball
May 5, 2015: Season 6, Volume 12
1. Don't call it a comeback - Jon Hechtner has been here the whole time, but the North Dakota State outfielder has poured it on the last two weeks. After getting rolling against Western Illinois for the first time this year, the junior went 2-for-5 with a two-run triple against Maryville State on Wednesday, then went 4-for-8 with four RBIs over a three-game sweep of IPFW. Hechtner's surge coincides with a wider one for the Bison - they've won their last six, and eight of their last ten.
2. The Lake Elsinore Storm have come on strong over the last week after a sluggish start, and Sweets alum Eric Yardley continues to shut the door on would-be comebacks. The 24-year-old right-hander picked up three saves over three scoreless innings of work in three appearances this week, including striking out the potential tying run to end a four-run ninth inning rally and preserve a 7-5 win over High Desert on Sunday. Through his first ten innings, Yardley has yet to allow an earned run and has yielded just six hits and one walk to go with 13 strikeouts.
3. It has been a busy week for UC Irvine shortstop Mikey Duarte. After going 3-for-15 in four games last week, the 2014 Sweet racked up hits in all four games this week for the Anteaters, going 5-for-16 with three runs scored as the 'Eaters rolled up Minnesota in a three game set in the Midwest. Duarte was also named to the Brooks Wallace Award watch list this week, awarded to the top shortstop in Division I. Duarte has been helped along by someone who won the award six years ago: Irvine associate head coach Ben Orloff.
4. Duarte has another (former) shotstop playing to his right in freshman Parker Coss, who showed a resurgence of his own this week. From April 7 to April 27, Coss was just 2-for-20 at the plate, but found his groove again on the road at San Diego. He went 3-for-3 and carried that momentum into the 'Eaters sweep in Minnesota, going 7-for-14 with a walk, an RBI, and two runs scored on the week overall.
5. The California Community College Baseball Playoffs started late last week, and San Mateo starter Sam Hellinger got the Bulldougs out on the front foot against Merced with yet another quality start - his eighth in fourteen starts - yielding three runs on eight hits while striking out four over 7.2 innings in a 12-3 win in game one of a best-of-three Regional series on Friday. His team carried the momentum of that win into Saturday and knockedout Merced with a 6-1 win, advancing to play Santa Rosa in a best-of-three Super Regional this weekend.
6. Cal Poly freshman Jarred Zill made his first career start back on March 10, and after giving up four runs, all unearned, in three innings, he was scarcely seen over the next month. He made his return as a midweek starter on April 8 against Pepperdine, and despite his ups and downs, he seems to be taking fairly well to the effort to stretch him out and handed in his first career quality start with 6 innings against Cal State-Bakersfield last Tuesday. Zill went six innings and gave up two runs on five hits with three strikeouts, leaving the game with a 4-2 lead, but the Roadrunners found three more runs after he left the game and walked off with a 5-4 win. Zill is 2-0 with a 4.22 ERA in five appearances as a starter for the Mustangs.
7. Aliso Niguel ace Kyle Molnar and his Wolverines have been in a knock-down-drag-out battle for the South Coast League, with the effect of having them under the gun seemingly every time they take the field. Molnar turned in a strong overall effort on Wednesday, allowing a single run on six hits with six strikeouts in six innings and going 3-for-3 with a pair of doubles on the road at Dana Hills, but it wasn't enough; in a 1-1 game in the seventh, Craig Hanson went to his bullpen, and the Dolphins got a walk-off grand slam from Jay Schuyler. The Wolverines responded two days later with a 3-2 win at home against the Dolphins to keep them atop the league table, but both Capistrano Valley and Dana Hills have a pair of games in hand. The Wolverines play their last non-league set on the road at Laguna Hills tomorrow before a tense race to the end of the regular season reaches its peak.
8. The word "tense" hasn't really been in College Park's vocabulary this season, certainly not over the last two and a half weeks, where they've won six games by a combined score of 82-7. Senior pitcher Joe DeMers threw a pair of no-hitters in that span and nearly hurled a third one last Thursday against Ygnacio Valley, but a controversial fair/foul call left DeMers with his first hit allowed since April 8 before polishing off a 17-0 shutout of YVHS with 10 strikeouts and a 3-for-3 day with three RBIs and team-best sixth home run of the year. It was just another day at the office for Joe the Show, with that effort coming on the heels of a 15-2 win over Berean Christian where DeMers went 2-for-3 with 6 RBIs, including a three-run homer. His teammate Willie MacIver has been setting the table for him and establishing a name for himself as well, going 7-for-10 with five doubles and six RBIs in that same span. MacIver has a hitting streak going on 15 games now; the last time he came up empty was way back on March 19.
9. David Geary's hitting streak for VMI isn't quite that lengthy, but seven games is a good run in college ball, and that's where Geary sits. His team was swept by Mercer over the weekend, but the junior from Richmond went 6-for-14 (.429) with four RBIs over the weekend and 8-for-19 on the week overall. Now back in the field at third base after a stint as the team's DH, Geary is hitting .406 with seven RBIs and six runs scored over the life of the streak.
10. To round things out this week, we take you back to last week's discussion of Darren McCaughan stretching out with Long Beach State as the midweek starter. He didn't get the ball to start against UCLA last Tuesday, but the freshman ultimately played a critical role for the Dirtbags. With the game tied going into a thirteenth inning, McCaughan came in and struck out the side, including former Sweet Luke Persico, to set the stage for Brock Lundquist, who walked the Dirtbags off with a single to beat UCLA 2-1, their first win over UCLA since April 6 of last year.
Just 31 days remain until Borleske opens for Sweets baseball in 2015! For tickets to Opening Night presented by Edward Jones and all Sweets home games, get tickets online, downtown at 109 E Main Street, or by calling 509-522-BALL.