Zebras End Regular Season With 3-2 Win

Retrieved from Lincoln Beacon.  http://lincolnbeacon.com/zebras-end-regular-season-with-win-over-vca

By Rob LeRoy

Senior night started the festivities at Lincoln High School’s baseball field yesterday with the Zebras thanking their seniors at their last home game for their distinguished careers.

Graduating this year are Austin Grande, Craig Schmich, Isaiah Garcia, Jordan Stone, Matthew Contreras, Miles Coffee and Sam Russell.

When the Zebras took the field they faced an extremely well-coached Valley Christian Academy of Roseville, but eventually pulled out a 3-2 win.

The Zebras would start fast as Sam Russell led off the game with a single followed by an RBI double by Isaiah Garcia. Jordan Erickson would score Garcia on the next at bat with a single of his own putting the Zebras up 2-0.

In the third, Isaiah Garcia led off with a single and soon after reached second base on a steal. He moved over to third on an error by the catcher then scored on a sacrifice fly by Erickson to extend the lead to 3-0.

Craig Schmich pitched a solid game for the Zebras going four scoreless innings and ended his home high school career in the fifth inning on a peculiar note by hitting the last batter he faced, VCA’s Casey Demello.

Coach Jon O’Connor wasted no time after the errant pitch and immediately walked to the mound to make a pitching change. But as Schmich left the mound, player after player displayed their appreciation for him. The Zebra bench even came out of the dugout and showed immense respect for their senior pitcher.

Coach O’Connor jokingly thought of Schmich’s last pitch, “That’s great, that doesn’t even surprise me one little bit.”

After Zack Lowe struck out the next batter he walked Alex Hennagin putting runners at first and second with one out.  A passed ball moved runners to second and third and a walk to Corey Cater loaded the bases. B.J. Marshall promptly stroked a single that scored both Demello and Hennagin making it a close 3-2 ball game. Lowe settled in though and halted the Lions push by forcing a pop up to second base, then striking out Grant Woodside to get out of the inning.

Matt Contreras came on in the sixth inning and took the Lions out 1-2-3. In the seventh, Miles Coffee faced four batters, one of them was a walk, before ending the game and picking up the save for Lincoln.

After the game The Beacon caught up with Craig Schmich who talked about the reception he received as he walked off the mound, on his home field, for the final time. “It felt really good knowing that my team (supported me), even if I did good or I did bad, they were always there.” About this last pitch, a knuckleball, Schmich said, “I started the season with one, and since I had one more pitch, I figured I would finish with one.”

About his coming in with the game on the line, Miles Coffee said, I was just trying to come in and pump fastballs into the strike zone, mix up my speeds really well and keep them off balance.”

Lincoln next heads into the Sac Joaquin Section playoffs. The announcement of where they are seeded and who there are playing is expected Friday.

The Beacon witnessed an telling exchange between Valley Christian Coach Brad Gunter and Lincoln’s Isaiah Garcia after the game. “Is it true you did not strike out even once this year?” Gunter asked. To which Garcia confirmed that he had not.