Oak Ridge sweeps Folsom, finishes regular season vs. Ponderosa

By: Staff Report
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Coming off a three-game sweep of Folsom, Oak Ridge High?s varsity baseball team enters this week with an 8-4 record in the Delta River League and a 17-7 mark overall. The Trojans end the regular season with a three-game set with Ponderosa (2-10 in league, 6-18 overall), which began Monday and ends at Oak Ridge today with a 4 p.m. game. Oak Ridge has third place wrapped up in the league and will open the playoffs next week against the Delta Valley Conference champion, either Davis, Elk Grove or Franklin. The Trojans had no problem with Folsom, outscoring the Bulldogs 39-12 in three games, in winning games 16-3, 12-5 and 11-4. Oak Ridge plated its first seven hitters en route to an eight-run bottom of the first inning on April 30. That was more than enough support for sophomore starter Austin Root, who threw all five innings, allowing three runs and striking out four. Alec de Watteville and Bobby Gatta began the Trojan half of the first with singles. Zack Mahon walked to load the bases for Lance Berringer, who drove in two with a ground-rule double to left. Cody Morris followed with a two-run single and two batters later, Cody Uharriet hit a two-run double. Uharriet scored on a double from Jason Ross, who was later driven in on de Watteville?s second hit of the inning. At this point, the Trojans were only halfway done at the plate ? and for that matter, so was de Watteville. In the second inning, Oak Ridge built a two-out rally that loaded the bases for the Trojan shortstop. De Watteville took a 1-0 pitch deep over the left field fence for a game-busting grand slam, putting the Trojans up 12-0. ?I was just going up there looking for a pitch inside and ended up getting it early in the count. I just tried to be aggressive with it,? said de Watteville, who finished the game 3-for-3 with five RBIs. Oak Ridge still wasn?t done. In the third, the Trojans put two runners on for center fielder Alex Fitchett. The future Sacramento State Hornet hit a foul ball over the left field fence before working the count full and then sending a towering blast?in fair territory this time?through the trees beyond left field. ?My hands were late and I felt it. That?s why I spotted it up. So I made a slight adjustment and it feels good to get the monkey off my back,? joked Fitchett, who at that point in the game was the last Trojan starter to record a hit. Along with de Watteville, Gatta and Mason Watkins also collected three hits each. Mahon added an RBI-triple in the third to complete the team cycle for the Trojans. ?Games like these can be traps for us but I was impressed with the way that we stayed within ourselves and just took what they gave us,? said Oak Ridge coach Todd Melton. ?I like to play the tougher teams towards the end to have that competition but I?m looking at the positives on the flipside. These high school kids; if they get on a roll, they feel good. It?s part of the deal.? Game two between Oak Ridge and Folsom again went to the Trojans, this time 12-5 in a full seven innings. Watkins led both teams, driving in three runs on a pair of singles. His two-out, two-run single in the first sparked another pair of two-out, two-run drives. Alex FaGalde singled and Jason Ross doubled. Folsom starter Alex Perez was banged up for all six runs in the first. His team was within four runs in the fourth, but Oak Ridge had a three-run sixth inning with Perez on the bench. The sixth began on one of three fielding errors by the Bulldogs. Watkins then drove one in, Alec de Watteville got an RBI on a hit-by-pitch and a passed ball scored another. Cody Uharriet drove in the Trojans only run of the seventh. Oak Ridge also had three errors. Starting pitcher Lance Berringer started his day with a 6-0 cushion. He threw a complete game and allowed three earned runs and struck out five. He fanned two in seventh, including the final out. ?I battled today. I didn?t really have all my best stuff, so I started trying to throw a little bit more off-speed around the third and fourth innings,? Berringer said. Melton said he was concerned about giving up unearned runs in these games so close to playoffs. The Trojans will likely end up the third place team in the league behind Pleasant Grove and Jesuit. ?We have good starts, but then just get way too comfortable. We settled early,? Melton said.? I want to see us go out hard for seven straight innings. We have one week left before playoffs and I hate when we kind of turn it on and turn it off. That?s not a good sign.? Jason Ross had three hits and Morris had three RBI in Oak Ridge?s 11-4 in on Thursday. Mahon and Uharriet both had two hits, while Mahon drove in two and Uharriet picked up one RBI.