By DAN GOLDMAN
ANGELS CAMP The Bret Harte High School baseball team played long ball in the first game and small ball in the second to sweep Summerville and clinch a playoff berth for a second straight year in yesterday's doubleheader at the Bret Harte diamond.
The Bullfrogs (14-9, 9-5 Mother Lode League) opened the twinbill by pounding out 13 hits, including three home runs, in a 13-1, five-inning victory.
Bret Harte then nailed down one of the MLL's three playoff berths in the Sac-Joaquin Section Division IV playoffs with a 5-0 blanking of the Bears (3-18, 1-12) in Game 2, which featured a flurry of Texas Leaguers and a dominating return by starting pitcher Sean Nelson, who was making his first appearance in nearly three weeks after injuring his pitching elbow.
The Frogs, who ended a 14-year dry spell by qualifying for the playoffs last year, did it the hard way this season. Although they still have an outside shot at winning the MLL title, the Frogs nearly knocked themselves out of the playoffs after blowing back-to-back seventh-inning leads in losses to Calaveras and Amador last week.
"After what we had to go through against Amador and Calaveras, absolutely there was room for concern," Lane said. "I don't know if (making the playoffs) is as big emotionally as it was last year because last year, it was about making it over that obstacle. But we're still very happy."
A big obstacle for the rest of the MLL has been the play of all-league catcher Travis Emerson, who may very well have wrapped up the league's Most Valuable Player award with yesterday's prodigious display of power. After belting a long home run to left field and a sacrifice fly to the deepest part of cavernous centerfield (on a half-swing) in the opener, Emerson bettered himself in Game 2 with an absolute bomb that was estimated to have traveled some 400 feet and landed on the practice field which hovers just above and beyond the left field fence.
For the day, Emerson reached base in four of his seven plate appearances with the two home runs, one walk and one hit by pitch, driving in three runs, scoring three runs and stealing two bases.