Still alive and kicking and eager for more: The Franklin Wildcats
Unranked entering the playoffs after an up-and-down regular season that included an 0-6 record against Delta Valley Conference front-runners Davis and Elk Grove, Franklin is still surging in the Sac-Joaquin Section Division I North playoffs because it refuses to bow out or buckle under.
The defending champion Wildcats of Elk Grove beat Bee No. 1 Davis 12-3 on Monday night to bounce the Blue Devils, a strong event favorite entering the tournament.
Connor Adams tossed a six-hitter to win his second playoff game, and his offense pounded out 15 hits against a Blue Devils staff not at all used to getting pounded like this. Adams, a 4.1 student headed to BYU to study neuroscience, beat Oak Ridge 4-1 in his last playoff start last week and is 8-2 on the season.
"Connor Adams is a stud," Franklin coach Bryan Kilby said. "He's our rally director on campus. When he's out there for us, we feel good. We're swinging the bat really well, too."
Franklin blew it open with seven runs in the top of the seventh. Catcher Nick Frei, the No. 9 hitter, homered to left for a 5-3 lead and then came up again in the same inning to drive in two with a base hit, including Sean Nicholson, who jumped over catcher Hayden Duer to land on the plate in a Sportscenter-like highlight.
The play delighted a student body crowd from Franklin that stood and danced throughout.
For Franklin, Hank LoForte, Gabe Abelia and Nicholson each had two hits. Frei had three hits, a double and four RBIs.
Franklin on Thursday night plays the loser of Tuesday night's winner-bracket contest between Elk Grove and Pleasant Grove. The North finals are Friday.
Davis bowed out after a tremendous season that included a Delta Valley Conference title, a run that featured two walk-off victories over Elk Grove by Matt Trask, a junior who will return, as will other mainstays such as Brett Bloomfield and Ryan Kreidler.
* Del Campo 3, Bethel 2 - Tim Hall pitched six innings and Sam Long closed it out in the seventh and the Cougars closed out Jaguars of Vallejo in two games in the best-of-three series at American River College.
Davis Rodigo slugged two doubles and Tyler Swank scored Jared Biggs with a sacrifice fly for the go-ahead run. Del Campo beat Bethel in Game 1 on Saturday 17-14 in a slugfest that resembled a football score.
Del Campo is in a section final for the first time since 1995 when the Cougars beat Merced in the D-I best-of-three series. Del Campo's other championship came in 1985, a two-game sweep of Beyer of Modesto. Both Del Campo teams were coached by Harry Kawahata, and both of those title achievements hang on the backstop fence at Del Campo.
Said Rodigo earlier this season, "We want to add one more."
Del Campo plays the winner of the other D-II semifinal between longtime rival Bella Vista and Benicia. Bella Vista leads that series 1-0 after taking Game 1 on Saturday 3-1.
- Joe Davidson
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