Article, 2011 Season - Ohlone College Renegades Men's Baseball

Renegades kick Butte in Regionals

By Jeff Weisinger.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011—Reprinted from Tri-City Voice.

"Lost for words." That would possibly be the best way to describe the 2011 State Regionals for both Fremont's Ohlone College and Hayward's Chabot College.

Renegades baseball players piled on top of each other on the field in celebration.Ohlone celebrates after rebounding from a 1-0 series deficit, winning both ends of the May 7 doubleheader, and advancing to the CCCAA Super Regional. —Photo by Don Jedlovec.

In the case of both the defending state champion Ohlone Renegades, and the Coast Golden Gate Conference champion Chabot Gladiators, this weekend should have been a change in the guard. Chabot seemed prime to ride their solid season to the state finals and Ohlone should've been just happy to barely win the Coast Pacific title despite needing help. But that's why they play the game.

The defending State champs entered their playoff opening series against Butte College winning six of their last seven straight. And in the Friday, May 6, opening game, it seemed as if the Renegades were carrying that momentum into the playoffs.

Right-hander George Asmus took the mound for Game 1 and handled the Butte lineup seemingly easily, carrying a no hitter through seven until Butte's five-run eighth inning knocked out Asmus' chance at the no hitter, and the win in the Renegades 5-3 loss. Ohlone had a 3-0 lead going into the eighth inning prior to the collapse. But as history as shown anyone who's watched the Ohlone Renegades play, it takes more than one game to knock out the resilient Renegades.

Ohlone head coach Julian Russell sent out ace pitcher Matt Fontaine in Game 2 Saturday, May 7, to keep the series alive and the sophomore did not disappoint, tossing a solid seven innings, allowing just one run on four hits while striking out seven in Ohlone's 4-2 win to keep the best-of-three series alive.

The Renegade lineup got a huge boost from catcher Joel Thys who went 2-3 with a run scored and Kainoa Crowell who's sacrifice RBI grounder to third in the first inning opened the scoring for the Renegades.

In game three, Ohlone took the momentum in full swing as sophomore Alika Pruitt shutdown the Butte lineup for seven innings and Crowell knocked around Butte pitching for five RBIs in the Renegades 10-5 series clincher.

Ohlone player takes a swing at bat.In day two of the opening round series with Butte, the Renegades bats came to life, plating 14 runs in the doubleheader sweep. —Photo by Mike Heightchew.

Pruitt was working on a strong three-hit shutout going into the eighth inning when Butte tried to rally late again. Butte would capitalize on the bases loaded opportunity in the eighth, instead fighting back against the Ohlone bullpen, primarily reliever Scott Benton who was tagged for two runs on three hits through just two outs of the eighth (Pruitt was charged for three runs after Benton's entrance). Brandon Arata finished the game out, getting Ohlone out of a near-disastrous eighth inning, getting Brandon Evans to ground out to short to end the inning.

Ohlone added some insurance runs of their own in their half of the eighth inning as they hit relievers Adam Beller and Bla Reynolds for three runs in the eighth inning, two of which coming off Crowell's two-RBI double with two outs off Reynolds.

"Winning a doubleheader is hard," Russell explained. "I'm proud of these guys. They've fought back all year, but they've stayed together and did a great job. I'm speechless."

The win sets up a rematch of the 2010 State Final as the Renegades will take on the seventh-seed College of San Mateo on Friday, May 13, in the 2011 Super Regionals at Solano College in Fairfield.

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