The Sonora High School baseball team headed into their second round game of the CIF-Sac Joaquin Division IV championship knowing they topple the No. 1 seed.
You can beat anybody, first-year coach Chet Winham told his team through the season.
And so the Wildcats battled.
El Dorado scored in the second after two doubles brought in two runners.
Sonora pitcher Braden Hobbs ended the inning with a four-pitch strikeout.
In the fourth, Sonora’s bats started talking. Tyler Matyshock doubled on a line drive to right field.
Austin Johnson jammed a hard grounder into center field to score Matyshock and bring the ‘Cats to within one.
A passed ball moved Johnson into scoring position. And Jacob Neilson evened things up with a double to left field, scoring Johnson.
That 2-2 knot remained until bottom of the sixth inning.
El Dorado scored three, moving the game to 5-2 and giving Sonora one more at-bat to even the game.
But the Wildcats went down on a ground out, pop out and fielder’s choice, bringing their season to a close.
The Wildcats finished their year with an 18-6 record overall.
And they finish with plenty to be proud of.
The Wildcats got a late start to their season.
“We got a late start because we didn’t have a summer team or a fall team,” Winham told the Union Democrat.
Weather was another factor. It delayed practices and games, too.
“Practice didn’t really start until February with a March 9 league start time,” Winham said.
The season’s success is a direct result of a cohesive coaching staff and a team that bought into the program, Winham.
“I have a certain system. Getting them to buy into that took a little time,” said Winham. “When they did we started rolling. They picked it up. They had some success with it, and then they were like sponges and wanted more.”