Jesuit beat Oak Ridge two out of three times this week in a high school baseball showdown in the Delta River League in what very much felt like a playoff series.
Oak Ridge came into the week top-ranked by The Bee with Jesuit at No. 2, and the teams performed like the region's best clubs with pitching, defense, timely hitting, coaching tactics and player leadership.
Jesuit won the opener Tuesday 1-0 on a Logan James gem and a last at-bat home run by leadoff hitter Andre Gregory.
The next two meetings were held at Jesuit on Saturday afternoon. Oak Ridge was scheduled to host one of those games, but its home field in El Dorado Hills was not quite game ready due to the avalanche of rain and hail this week.
Competing as the home team, Oak Ridge won the early game Saturday 3-2 when Cody Uharriet scored Lance Berringer with a sacrifice fly in the bottom of the seventh inning. Cody Morris gave Oak Ridge a 2-0 lead in the first inning on a towering 2-run home run to right, and Sacramento State-bound pitcher Alex Fitchett struck out eight to earn the win in an impressive outing.
Jesuit's superb slugging short stop Zach Green had a solo home run to cut it to 2-1. Green has the sort of power that makes for screaming foul balls, ripping into the trees down the line or well into some far away parking lot.
In the final game, Jesuit prevailed 6-3 as both teams dug into the bullpen with each club collecting 11 hits.
Julian Barron got the win in relief for Jesuit as he did not allow any runs in his four innings of work. He struck out two in the seventh to seal it.
Alec de Watteville gave Oak Ridge a 2-0 lead with a double off the wall in the second and Logan Marston had an RBI single for a 3-1 lead in the third.
Jesuit took the lead for good for good off RBI hits by Dan Johnson, Alex Larivee, Green, Jordan Hanlin and another Larivee hit - all coming in the third, fourth and fifth innings.
Jesuit (8-5) emerges with a 2-1 DRL mark. Oak Ridge (9-5) is 2-1 with three games against Pleasant Grove, which is the only unbeaten team in the DRL at 3-0 and 12-3 over all.
Jesuit, Oak Ridge and Pleasant Grove were three of the four final teams standing in the Sac-Joaquin Section Division I North playoffs last season, with Jesuit beating Oak Ridge for the title.
No one would be the least bit surprised if Oak Ridge and Jesuit didn't run into each other again in the point in a loaded D-I field that will also likely field Elk Grove, Pleasant Grove and Davis - and any collection of Franklin, Sheldon and Grant.
Jesuit coach Joe Potulny and Oak Ridge skipper Todd Melton spoke to each other at length after each game this week, such is their growing appreciation for each other and friendship. A lof of the Jesuit and Oak Ridge players have known each other for years.
"We've got a good thing going and in the last two years, it's been really good competition between the teams - and a fun rivalry," Potulny said. "I'm impressed with both teams."
Jesuit plays host to Folsom on Monday. Oak Ridge is at Pleasant Grove on Monday to face Zach Stilwell, who struck out 15 against Sheldon last week.
- By Joe Davidson
On Twitter: @sb_joedavidson
Bee file photo by José Luis Villegas: Jesuit base runner Zach Green crosses home plate to score Jesuit's first run in Game 1 of the Sac-Joaquin section Division I baseball championship, at Sacramento City College in Sacramento. June 07, 2011