LODI Bret Harte High School shook off a stunning blow in the bottom of the sixth inning and rallied for three runs in the top of the seventh to beat Lindhurst of Olivehurst, 11-10, in the first round of the Sac-Joaquin Section Division IV baseball playoffs Saturday at Zupo Field.
The Mother Lode League tri-champion Bullfrogs (16-9) begin a best-of-3 semifinal series against Trans-Valley League runner-up Escalon (19-7) tonight at 7 at Zupo. Game 2 is Thursday at 4 p.m. and a third game, if necessary, will be played that night. Escalon beat MLL tri-champion Linden 7-2 Saturday.
The Bret Harte-Escalon winner advances to the championship game Monday, May 26, at 1 p.m. at Zupo against the best-of-3 survivor between TVL champion Patterson (18-6) and MLL tri-champion Calaveras (15-10). Patterson edged Golden Empire League third-place finisher Golden Sierra of Garden Valley 8-7 in eighth innings in the first round, while Calaveras routed GEL runner-up Marysville 14-4.
Ryan Robinson hit a three-run homer with two out in the bottom of the sixth to give GEL champion Lindhurst (13-4) a 10-8 lead. The bolt came right after a Bret Harte infielder passed up what looked like a sure double play to throw a runner out at the plate. The out was made, but the inning was kept alive for Robinson.
Undaunted, the Bullfrogs got to work in the seventh when, with one out, Judd Bales singled and Anthony Bennett and Travis Emerson walked to lead the bases. Pitcher around Emerson was the better part of valor for Lindhurst, as the powerful Bret Harte catcher had hit a laser of a triple just to the right of the 390-foot sign in center field in the fourth inning, and had blasted a three-run home run a bit further to the left in the fifth.
Ken Baptista singled after Emerson's walk to score Bales and pull the Bullfrogs to within 10-9. The next batter, Sean Nelson, was hit by a pitch, forcing Bennett home with the tying run. Freshman Levi Emerson, Travis' brother, got credit for the game-winning run batted in with a grounder to third base.