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April 24, 2014

Top two meet in finals

The Elite Eight will have plenty of impact on the NCP Top 20. Five ranked teams were a part of the field with No. 1 St. Francis and No. 2 Clayton Valley Charter facing off in the finals today.

John Gavin is one of the top pitchers in Northern California and added another stellar outing to his resume in the Lancers' 5-2 win over No. 3 California. The senior left-hander threw six innings of one run ball with 11 strikeouts to pitch St. Francis into its second tournament final in as many weeks.

"They are holding up well. This has been a tough two weeks," St. Francis head coach Mike Oakland said of the Boras Baseball Classic and the Elite Eight. "We've been tested big time and the guys are meeting the challenge."

St. Francis has struggled to score runs this year, but manufactured runs in four of the six innings on Wednesday. The Lancers got on the board in the second inning on a RBI single from sophomore Andrew Martinez. Tyler Deason scored before Erik Benedetti was thrown out at the plate. Ryan McSwain added a RBI single in the third for a 2-0 lead.

California answered in the fourth with a RBI double from Austin Chauvin. Leading 3-1 in the fifth, St. Francis strung four hits together with two outs to extend the lead to 5-1. Tim Susnara started it off with a double. Deason, Benedetti and Jeremy Ydens followed with two out, two strike singles.

"That's pretty much the way we've had to do it all year. Nothing has been easy. They did a good job of grinding their at-bats out," Oakland said. "It wasn't an easy five runs."

Despite using two pitchers in the seventh, St. Francis was able to hold California to just a Cameron Santos sacrifice fly.

Clayton Valley Charter 3, Amador Valley 1

With strong pitching and defense, Clayton Valley doesn't need much. It got what it needed in the top of the first to improve to 19-0 and earn a berth in the Elite Eight finals with a 3-1 win.

"We've got a really good club that works their tails off. We have good coaches that work their tails off with them," Clayton Valley Charter head coach Casey Coakley said. "The kids really buy into the fact that we play one pitch at a time, one inning at a time."

Outfielder Grant Meylan reached on an infield single to leadoff the game. On an attempted sacrifice bunt attempt from Ryan Milligan, Meylan beat the throw to second to put two runners on base. After both moved up 90 feet, Meylan beat another potential out at the plate. He was followed by Milligan, who scored on the wide throw, for the 2-0 lead.

It was more than enough for starter Austin Cannedy, who threw a complete game in 97 pitches. He gave up seven hits, including back-to-back singles to open the second inning. He finished with four strikeouts to improve to 7-0.

"He pounded the strike zone and kept their hitters off balance. He had them put balls in play and we like playing defense," Coakley said. "When he gets into his groove and tempo going, we love playing defense behind him."

No. 12 Amador Valley's lone run came on a sacrifice fly from Austin Piscotty. Jordan Ott went six innings and gave up three runs (two earned). He gave up six hits and two walks with four strikeouts.


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