By Bill Paterson
It was the night of the pitcher and an any-thing-you-can-do-I-can-do-better battle between Oak Ridge's Kyle Porter and Rocklin's Matt Fielding in the Sac-Joaquin Section Division II single-elimination baseball playoff openers tonight at Sacramento City College.
In the first game, Porter struck out 14, allowed six hits and did not walk a batter in a 6-0 win over McClatchy.
In the nightcap, Fielding struck out 13, allowed one hit and walked two as Rocklin beat Christian Brothers 2-0.
That sets up a best of three series between Rocklin (21-7) and Oak Ridge (26-2) starting 5 p.m. on Monday at Sac City.
Both Porter and Fielding are left handers and competitors. Both have dominated throughout the season. Both have excellent control (10 walks each entering the playoffs). Both have 10 wins after tonight's games.
The real difference is in the packaging. Porter stands 6-foot-2; Fielding is 5-8.
In beating McClatchy, Porter struck out the side in the fifth and seventh innings, the latter after the Lions' Braxton Burt led off with a double. He also struck out the last two batters in the fourth, stranding Lions at second and third.
Christian Brothers' biggest threat against Fielding came in the fifth when Connor Lee walked, stole second and reached third on a passed ball.
Fielding struck out rival pitcher Chris Kunz looking to end the threat. Kunz had the only hit off Fielding, a single to right in the third.
Kunz and McClatchy starting pitcher Vincent Ruiz deserve kudos.
Ruiz held Oak Ridge to one run and three hits through the first four innings. The senior right hander was taken out when he hit Curtis Cantaloube to lead off the fifth.
Then the roof caved in for relievers Max Cordy and Dennis Fennessey as Oak Ridge scored three times in the fifth and two more in the sixth.
Kunz, a lefty, limited Rocklin to only four hits.
But he tired late and walked three (seven total) and hit a batter in the sixth, when the Thunder added an insurance run. Ben Brown's RBI single in the fourth scored Rocklin's first run.