The big bad Wolf(pack) put an end to the fairy tale dreams of the Paso Robles Bearcats in a CIF Southern Section Division 2 second round baseball game. Despite being the top-seeded team (and the #1-ranked team kin the state and #5-ranked team in the nation — Maxpreps), the Great Oak team had to travel 315 miles and over 5-1/2 hours to the furthest reach of the Southern Section as a result of a lost coin flip. “You would think that a #1-seed would give you a home field advantage throughout the playoffs,” said Great Oak assistant coach Evan Moore, “Instead we were the ones that had to get on a bus for a 5-1/2 hour trip.”
The Bearcats turned around a 2-16 league season last year, winning the PAC-7 Championship with a 13-4-1 record, 20-7-2 overall this year. They had beaten Yucaipa in the first round game 10-7 to advance.
Great Oak loaded the bases with no outs on freshman pitcher Nolan Binkele in the first inning, but the Bearcats held them scoreless as Mitch Hayes (4-for-5) hit into a double play and Brad Wegman grounded out.
Great Oak pitcher Zach Noll, a 6’5″ sophomore, kept the Bearcat bats silent, striking out five in the first two innings. He recorded eight strikeouts and allowed only two hits in six innings, both to junior shortstop Bailey Gaither.
The Wolfpack exploded for six runs in the top of the third on a two-run triple by Logan Morrison (3-for-3) and a pair of doubles by Trey Endris (2-for-3) and Brett Dillon . The Wolfpack had 13 hits in the game.
Down 8-0 at the bottom of the fourth inning, the Bearcats finally scored: an error put a runner on base, Gaither hit to right field, a bunt advanced both, a passed ball scored one and a grounder scored Gaither.
The Wolfpack hit the Bearcats’ reliever for five hits, two walks and one run. Great Oak was up 9-2 when reliever Drake Mekkers walked three batters; a one-out grounder scored two more for the Bearcats to end the game 9-4. “Paso Robles had an outstanding crowd and a great baseball environment,” said Moore, “They were a classy group.”
Great Oak next faces Aliso Niguel (21-9, 9-3) the Sea View League #2. The Wolverines advanced with a 4-1 win over Northwood and an 11-6 win over Camarillo. The matchup features two of the best pitchers in the state: Aliso Niguel’s UCLA-bound Kyle Molner (9-1) who has a 1.99 ERA and has pitched two shutouts on the season will be on the mound against USC-bound Brad Wegnan (10-2) who has a 1.77 ERA . The power-hitting team also has 285 hits (38 doubles and 19 home runs) in thirty games, averaging 9.5 hits per game. Great Oak averages 7 hits per game.