Look who's warming up just as the weather seems to be cooling down.
The Franklin Wildcats.
Days after rolling Rodriguez in Fairfield in a Sac-Joaquin Section Division I playoff opener 13-0, Franklin stunned the hottest team in the field, beating Oak Ridge 4-1 at Sacramento City College on Wednesday night to snap the Trojans' 12-game winning streak.
Connor Adams tossed a complete-game gem, scattering five hits through six innings and escaping a last-inning jam for Franklin. Hank LoForte had three hits and Tyler Blake crushed a home run for the Wildcats, who placed third in the Delta Valley Conference a year ago and roared to the D-I North finals and won it. Franklin placed third again in the DVC this season behind Bee No. 1 Davis and No. 2 Elk Grove and playing the role of destroyer again.
Franklin is primed for another run, and look who it draws on Saturday at noon at Sac City: Elk Grove.
"That's our MO - get into the playoffs," said Blake, the program's all-time home run leader. He has hit a homer in four consecutive games. "I'm seeing the ball really well right now...To beat a team as good as Oak Ridge is an honor. Never doubted our team."
Franklin (16-13) was Bee ranked most of the season until falling out down the stretch. Wildcats coach Bryan Kilby said his bunch wasn't a ranked-worthy club a bit ago, but that was then. This is now - new life.
"This is a great group," said Kilby, The Bee's Coach of the Year last season. "Our guys responded. I love to win and I'm as competitive as anyone, but the regular season isn't the most important thing. This is what counts."
Adams said Franklin understands, "a sense of urgency this time of year, and it's sparked us."
Adams is one of those feel-good student athletes who balances his hectic schedule in maximizing his senior year. He was a team captain and center for the football team that had a school-record campaign, and he pitches and competes in baseball with a football mentality. He fears nothing.
Adams kept hitting the outside corner against Oak Ridge in keeping a prolific team off balance. Oak Ridge won the Delta River League by beating Pleasant Grove twice and Jesuit once. The Trojans were led by team leader and shortstop star Alec de Watteville this season. Ace Austin Root took the loss, though he struck out seven. He's only a junior. Oak Ridge turned a 1-2-3-2 triple play in the top of the seventh, but the feel-good moment ended when Adams recorded a groundout to end it.
Adams is a 4.1 student headed to BYU to study neuroscience. The grin on his face suggests he's not quite ready to end this season.
* Elk Grove 8, Woodcreek 5 - Rowdy Tellez had a two-run homer in the first inning, a soaring shot over the right-field fence, and he effectively won it in the top of the eighth inning with screaming RBI single to left to lift the Thundering Herd in extra innings.
Tellez homered off Tyler Milani in the first and touched hard-throwing Stephen Nogosek in his last at-bat in an entertaining showdown of Major League Baseball draft prospects heavy on power.
Nogosek hit 93 mph several times on radar guns aimed his way. He and Tellez embraced afterward and congratulated each other.
Nogosek could sign a pro contract after his likely draft selection next month, or he could attend Oregon on scholarship. Tellez could ink a pro deal or attend USC on scholarship, and face Nogosek in some Pacific-12 showdowns.
Nogosek is one of the greatest flame-throwers in regional history, and Tellez one of most entertaining home-run and RBI producers. Tellez has 168 career RBIs, second most in Northern California history.
A student of the game, Tellez said he could read Nogosek's pitches, that he "tipped them" with the way he shook his hand before delivery.
"He's the best arm in the area, no doubt, awesome," Tellez said of Nogosek. "I loved facing him. He plays the game the right way. Very respected player."
Aftrer Tellez made it 6-5, David Smith had a sacrifice fly for a 7-5 lead with Tellez scoring on an overthrow to make it 8-5. Nogosek struck out four in his 2.1 innings of relief. Tellez also walked twice and had three RBIs. Smith earned the win, getting a game-ending strikeout. Starting pitcher Mikey Wright struck out six for the Herd.
Veteran Elk Grove coach Jeff Carlson has won his share of championships and coached his share of prospects, including some that reached the big leagues, but he never tires of a good outing.
"Big time guys and performances," he said of a lot of players in general. "Rowdy had a great at-bat against Nogosek at the end, outstanding. The scouts see this, how guys like Rowdy are big competitors and how they're great teammates."
* Thursday's games: Vacaville plays No. 4 Pleasant Grove at 4 p.m. at Sac City, followed by top-ranked Davis against No. 5 Jesuit at 7 p.m.
Pleasant Grove is coming off two wins last week against Jesuit to defend a share of its Delta River League title, and Monday's win over Rocklin. Vacaville, winners of the Monticello Empire League, is led by ace Elway Santistevan (6-2). He eliminated Jesuit 3-2 in a playoff opener last season and battled Davis in a 2-1 setback in a loser's bracket finale.
Davis and Jesuit have faced each other before in the postseason and in recent seasons have met in nonleague rivalry games at Raley Field. The teams are coached by alums, Davis with Dan Ariola and Jesuit with Joe Potulny.
Davis will start ace Matt Trask and Jesuit will go with No. 2 arm Chris Loeb.
- Joe Davidson
- On Twitter: @SacBee_JoeD
- On Podcast: ESPN1320.net