If I didn't think children's stories would work in sports reporting, I might not think I could get away with calling the Cosumnes River College baseball team, "The Little Team that Could", but darn it when you expect a team to maybe have a struggle and they step up and take control of the situation, what else can you think?
This CRC team is not filled with what many would call superstars, no, this is just a bunch of guys that have each other's backs and do what they can, when they need to. With two of their starters probably down for the rest of the season, depending on how deep they find themselves in the playoffs, some teams would have folded and cleaned out their lockers.
What's left in the cupboard?
We have some pitchers.
On Saturday in game three of the opening round of baseball playoffs against College of Marin, Jeremy Caldwell stepped up big time in a return to early season form that was brilliant as he faced a powerful Marin team. Through five and a half innings it looked like a hit would win the game as both Caldwell and Marin's Eric Smith kept opposing hitters just off balance enough to not allow any base hits.
Brooks Day had a two strike double to lead off the sixth, ending Smith's no hit dreams. Day promptly stole third uncontested after a high pitch with the third baseman crashing toward the plate expecting a bunt. After Brett Bloomfield gathered a four pitch walk, Day was running on the high chopper Brian Morley hit to Marin third baseman Sam Schmidt who came home with the throw to nab Day at the plate. Jordan Yu then walked to load the bases. The old baseball adage of just putting the ball in play was never truer as Daniel Enos hit a two strike grounder to short where the Mariners attempted to get two to end the inning but Yu's take out slide prevented the double play. The Mariners were only able to get the force on Yu and in the process Bloomfield scored what turned out to be the winning run off the bat of Enos.
Back to the Hawks pitching strength, almost three weeks ago Jeremy Caldwell was hit in the head with a line drive while pitching. He started the Hawks final regular season game against Santa Rosa to get back on the mound but nobody expected this kind of a start in the deciding game of the playoff series. The first inning was the only inning that Caldwell had more than one runner on against him as he pitched five hitless innings with four walks and four strikeouts. "Pretty much everything was working for me today, the fastball I was able to locate well, I felt really good to get back out there."
Caldwell acknowledged that he was getting tired as the game progressed, "later in the game I got a little tired so some of the pitches were tougher to locate, I think coach (Bloomfield) did a great job getting me out of there, it's been awhile since I've been out there and Keup came in and did a great job."
Keup certainly did pitching four shutout innings giving up just the one hit to Marcus Chiu with two outs in the top of the ninth. The only other mark on Keup's pitching line was the four strikeouts he had.
Pregame premonition comes true as he and Caldwell talked about things before the game, "Jeremy before the game said it's me and you in this one so we kinda knew I'd get in and finish off where he left off and help the team get the dub (win)."
You can find an audio link to the College Of Marin Broadcast here if you're interested in listening to this great game. CoM broadcaster Nick Winstead has the call.
The Hawks will host the next round of playoffs as well, this series against the College Of San Mateo who comes in with a 25-13 record, third place in the Coast Golden Gate Conference with a 12-8 record. The opener will be on Friday the 13th at 2 pm, Saturday will be game two will be at 1 pm and Sunday if needed will be at 1 pm.