It had been over a decade since the Turlock Christian varsity baseball team won a postseason game, but they ended that drought on Wednesday afternoon from McAuliffe Memorial Ballparks in Sacramento in the opening-round game of the Sac-Joaquin Section Division-VII playoffs.
Seeded at No. 4, the young TC Eagles managed to overcome some early woes against No. 5 Western Sierra after a back and forth tug for the lead that eventually ended with a late rally and consistent pitching from Markie Delgadillo that led to their 10-6 win.
“We thought we could win,” said TC head coach James Burbank. “We go into every game thinking we can win, now we are going up against a team that everyone says is impossible to beat, starting on Saturday.”
That team is No. 1 Valley Christian, who is 19-6 overall and went a perfect 14-0 in league play.
“We are looking forward to it. If you are going to beat someone, you have to go through the best,” said Burbank.
In order to get there, TC first had to take down their first opponent in WS.
TC allowed a pair of runs in the first, but the Eagles bounced back immediately to tie it at 2-2 by the end of the first. By the end of the second, the score was tied 4-4 after a back and forth battle.
It also helped that TC was near perfect on defense, committing just one error.
The Eagles went on two three-run rallies in the fourth and fifth inning to secure the victory.
TC started freshman Howie Skinner on the mound, who went 1 and 2/3 innings before Markie Delgadillo came in for relieve duties.
“Markie was huge for us,” said Burbank. “Howie started on the mound and struggled a bit and Markie came in in the second and was lights out for us. We put 10 runs, aggressive on bases all that stuff, it was a good team win.”
Delgadillo tossed 5 and 1/3 inning, allowing just two runs in the process.
“Everyone was thinking baseball from the get-go and staying up, nobody let anybody get down, it was a great team effort,” said Burbank.
The Eagles amassed 10 hits for the game while six players got at least one hit.
Jakob Skinner was 3-for-4 with an RBI and Ryan Leonesio was 2-for-2 with an RBI. Liam Jones was 2-for-4 with a pair of RBI.
TC is now 12-5-1 for the year heading into their semifinal matchup with the top seeded team in the bracket.
TC advances to the D-VII semifinals and will take on No. 1 Valley Christian in the best of three series, beginning on Saturday with the first game at noon and concluding at 4 p.m. Tuesday.